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Our Springbok-branded Kiwi online casino may not have an end of life, but millions of electric vehicle batteries do. Estimates are around 1.6 million of the 450 kg plus Lithium-ion power packs are about to expire. Will they end up in landfill sites… or is there a better plan?
As is evident from the growing number of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road, the world is transitioning to electromobility… and fast. On the one hand, you’ve got clean transportation replacing carbon puffing cars. On the other, there are mountains of potentially toxic materials that have to go somewhere… and sooner than one imagines.
Now we know the average life span of the batteries powering the likes of the VW I D.4. Audi e-Tron, Hyundai Ioniq Electric and Tesla Model S is around seven to ten years. What is less well known is these 90 kW power packs are made from a host of rare materials such as graphite, lithium salts, nickel, cobalt and lithium.
When the batteries are no longer fully functional and have to be decommissioned, what happens to the tons and tons of wiring, components and materials? When compared to the various parts that make up Springbok Casino, EV batteries are serious environmental hazards.
That is the beauty of virtual gaming platforms like our top ranked Kiwi online casino. In our individual capacity, we leave no discernible trace on the natural environment. Our casino games are powered by RTG software, our banking methods are remote – and our customer support team may be in-house but consists of a dispersed workforce.
When you play the best casino games online, there is no tangible waste or by-product – with the exception of the currency paid out to our legion of winners. Even the transactions, in and out of your Springbok Casino account, are purely electronic and leave no footprint at all… not even a real paper trail!
Now back to the uncomfortable reality of what to do about expiring batteries in electric vehicles…
The good news is governments and regulators have recognised the threats posed by unmitigated battery dumping. Most countries are shifting the responsibility of clean battery-disposal back to the source – the EV manufacturers – and they are not opposed to the idea.
Tesla is working on ways to incentivise clients to pop into the local Tesla service centre and switch old batteries with new ones… all while they wait! Nissan is repurposing spent batteries, harvested from Leaf vehicles, into power packs for automated vehicles tasked with delivering parts on the factory floor.
Renault, VW and Tesla are all firmly committed to recycling end-of-life EV batteries. Some have opened their own recycling plants. Others have partnered with dedicated waste management and recycling companies with the capacities and capabilities to recycle thousands of tons of e-waste.
Despite the manufacturers best efforts, only about 5% of EV batteries are currently recycled in what are essentially pilot projects. All these operations have to be scaled up… and fast.
Right now, there are an estimated 11 million electric vehicles on our roads. Over the next decade, that number is expected to soar to around 145 million battery-powered cars.
Scaling up is going to require more than extra hands on deck. At the moment, batteries are largely dismantled by hand before the component materials are processed and recycled. This is a potentially dangerous process, as these extra-large batteries can and do explode when handled incorrectly.
What is required is full-scale automation and robotics to go hand-in-hand with the sophisticated closed loop recycling efforts already in existence.
Although automotive manufacturers have adopted slightly different techniques, the gist of the process is the same. Electronics are removed, tested and, where possible, re-used. Kind of like taking outdated Kiwi online casino games and revamping them!
The lithium-ion cells remain sealed and are frozen with liquid nitrogen to prevent chemical reactions. They are then reduced into what is known as a ‘black mass’ through shredding and crushing.
This mass is refined and separated into the component materials – lithium, manganese, cobalt and nickel – which are used to manufacture new EV batteries. Waste is kept to an absolute minimum and the manufacturers have access to a steady source of recycled rare materials, which are expensive and not always easy to procure.
New, eco-efficient closed-loop recycling processes are emerging all the time. One waste management company converts EV batteries into three reusable fractions:
In addition to refining and separating the alloy, which is then returned to the EV manufacturers or purchased from them, the company has developed a range of by-products using the harvested compounds. As such, it is one of the first recycling operations to adopt an authentic closed loop system in the ‘disposal’ of EV batteries.
Now that you know how batteries – and digital devices – are given a new life, why not login to Springbok Casino. Besides our awesome selection of RTG developed games, you will find a range of cool bonuses matching the criteria of a top ranked Kiwi online casino!