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The importance of training in Lithium-Ion battery recycling

Lithium-Ion battery recycling

Cawleys Waste Management has developed a full service to collect, store, pack, export and ensure the recycling of batteries, as used in Electric Vehicles (EV) and Plug-in Hybrids (PHEV), and has created a ‘one-stop shop’ which can tackle Lithium-Ion battery waste in the automotive sector head-on.

With a market that’s rapidly increasing in size but can be extremely hazardous, it’s important that engineers are specifically trained to deal with the high voltage components in Lithium-Ion batteries.

What are High Voltage Engineers?

 Cawleys ensures all employees that deal with the handling, recycling and disposal of Lithium-Ion batteries are trained as competent and are our High Voltage Engineers.

It only takes 100 milliamps of current to be fatal and automotive batteries produce amps in the 1000’s so the risk is very real and ensuring all that come into contact have the proper training is critical.  During the decommissioning stage, where we take a battery apart, is where electrical risk is the highest and our training covers all parts of the process to make sure no one harmed.

The necessity of training

Training employees who work with Lithium-Ion batteries is essential as it minimises the risk of danger.

Lithium-Ion batteries are high voltage and hold chemical energy, which can lead to Thermal Runaway and fire. Thermal Runaway occurs when a Lithium-Ion cell gets so hot that it starts to generate its own heat. This happens because the separator – the polymer film that separates the anode and cathode – melts around 80 degrees C. This can cause an internal short, allowing current to run unabated within the battery. This uncontrolled current leads to further heating and eventual fire.

Furthermore, the high voltage of the product could result in electrocution of the person handling the battery, if mismanaged.

Cawleys is one of the first waste management companies to tackle the hazardous issue of transporting damaged battery packs, that have resulted from incidents such as car accidents. Batteries are transported in specialist Dangerous Goods packaging which conforms to the highest danger levels as set out in the upcoming ADR Regulation revision for 2019.  These containers are built to safely hold chemical energy and high voltage. In line with Dangerous Goods regulations, these containers are capable of controlling a thermal event and are the largest on the market, being able to carry up to 1400kg.

Abiding by protocols

As well as being trained in the correct physical handling of Lithium-Ion batteries, High Voltage Engineers are taught the correct protocols in all stages of the recycling and disposal process. This includes the practice of composing a full and precise risk assessment prior to collection of Lithium-Ion batteries, as well as detailed information regarding a safe environment for the dismantling of batteries and the use of protective, insulated tools.

Recycling Lithium-Ion batteries with Cawleys

If you’re interested in discussing the process of Lithium-Ion battery recycling with Cawleys highly trained team, why not visit them at the Low Carbon Vehicle Event held at Millbrook Proving Ground on the 12th and 13th September. Here Cawleys can answer any questions you may have on safe and sustainable Lithium-Ion battery disposal and recycling. Please find Cawleys at stand C5306a.

To find out more about Cawleys Lithium-Ion battery recycling, call 0845 260 2000 or email lithium@cawleys.co.uk

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