Honda Introduces New Rare-Material Recycling Process For Hybrid Batteries

March 23rd, 2013 by

There’s a first for everything, and in the automotive industry its usually Honda’s doing. The Japanese automaker recently revealed the first process to extract rare earth materials from old hybrid batteries in order to use them in new batteries. Let’s take a closer look to see how it works, and how it can affect the industry and the enviornment in a significant way.

How it Works

  1. The used battery is transported to Japan Metals & Chemicals Co., Ltd, Honda’s partner in devising the recycling process.
  1. Batteries are disassembled, and all relevant pieces go through a calcination process. This means that they are heated to an extremely high temperature.
  1. The calcinated metals are pulverized, sorted, and sent through acid dissolution. This results in the conversion of the parts to an oxide form that contains the rare earth materials.
  1. Molten salt electrolysis is applied to the oxides in order to isolate the purest form of the rare earth materials possible. On average, around 80% of the raw earth materials are successfully isolated and can be recycled.
  1. The raw material is tested for purity to ensure that it upholds Honda’s strict quality standards. The recycled goods are generally around 99% pure and are equivalent in quality to brand-new material.
  1. Finally, the rare earth material is used as negative-electrode material for a new nickel-metal hydride battery.

What it Means

Honda and JMC initially tested the procedure on 386 hybrid cars that were rendered unsellable by damage from the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. Because it worked so well, they then began running the process on a larger scale and recycling batteries that were brought into Honda dealerships for replacement.

Eco-conscious hybrid drivers will be pleased to know that in the future, even new Honda hybrid models could be outfitted with recycled batteries. You’ll be reducing your carbon footprint without even lifting a finger.

At Fisher Honda, we’re very proud of the products we sell, and Honda’s constant innovation and passion for the environment is one that we share. If you’re in the market for a new car, check out our wide selection of eco-friendly cars.

Posted in Honda News