Japan's first plant specializing in the reuse and recycling of lithium-ion batteries from electric vehicles is set to open amid growing demand for electric cars.
The new factory, in the town of Namie in eastern Japan, will be operated by 4R Energy Corporation, a joint venture between Nissan and Sumitomo Corporation.
The number of electric cars on the road is rising rapidly as environmental issues, including climate change, weigh on the minds of motorists around the world. The availability of used lithium-ion batteries is expected to increase significantly in the near future as buyers of the first generation of electric cars look to replace their vehicles. The recycling and refabrication of such batteries is expected to have a substantial impact on the battery industry, affecting demand for new battery materials, and on the environment and society as a whole. For more information see the IDTechEx report on Batteries for Residential, Commercial, Industrial and Utility Applications.
Established in 2010 by Nissan and Sumitomo Corporation to focus on the effective reuse of electric-car batteries, 4R has gained valuable expertise. The company has developed a system that quickly measures the performance of used batteries, and it plans to apply this innovative technology to batteries collected from all over Japan at the Namie plant.
The plant will serve as the global center for 4R's development and manufacturing. The batteries recycled and refabricated at the factory will be used to offer the world's first exchangeable refabricated battery for electric vehicles, and will also be used in large-scale storage systems and electric forklifts. The plant is the first new factory in Namie since the town was devastated by Japan's March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and is expected to help revitalize the local economy.
As a leader in zero-emission technologies, Nissan seeks to realize a sustainable-mobility society by developing and marketing electric vehicles and promoting their use globally.
Sumitomo Corporation is a firm believer in the positive impact of electric vehicles on the global environment and is contributing to the expansion of their use in collaboration with 4R. The company's continuing efforts include promoting the reuse and recycling of used electric-car batteries for purposes including the development of stationary power storage systems.
A light-up test is taking lace in the town of Namie, Japan. With used electric cars in tandem with a series of solar panels to power new streetlights in the town, which is in Fukushima prefecture, north of Tokyo the installation, dubbed "Reborn Light," is being viewed not just as a public works project, but also as a restorative modern art installation of sorts. The angular, minimalist lights operate off-grid, with no need to run additional cables. Their bases contain used cells from Nissan Leaf hatchbacks whose batteries have outlived their useful lifespan for powering an automobile.
Source and top image: Nissan Motor Corporation