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Bacteria are the solution for electric vehicle batteries!



Despite numerous advances in electric vehicle (EV) battery technology, the actual carbon footprint remains a major point of contention. Additionally, batteries also make up half the equation when it comes to the EV charging problem. Furthermore, they raise several questions in terms of autonomy. I remember that it is one of the main limitations that many EV owners have to deal with. However, the solution to most problems related to electric vehicle batteries is bacteria.

Bacteria are the solution for electric vehicle batteries!

From hybrids to hydrogen-powered engines, it’s no wonder scientists have looked for new ways to improve environmentally friendly engine designs, especially batteries. Unexpectedly, a recent discovery may have just revealed a link between bacteria and the future of electric vehicle battery technology.

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In November 2023, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers shared how a team of sustainable biotechnology scientists from the University of Edinburgh, led by Professor Louise Horsfall, is exploring the concept of using artificial bacteria. This is to recover valuable metals from the lithium-ion batteries of electric vehicles.

This bio-based recycling process sees bio-engineered bacteria from the Edinburgh Genome Foundry being added to a fermenter. Everything to produce a natural biological reaction. Subsequently, the solution will produce nanometer-sized particles of metallic compounds. They can then be filtered and recovered.

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At this time, researchers are still carrying out tests on a previously used Nissan Leaf EV battery. If they are successful, their discovery could mean a lot for the electric vehicle industry in general.

How battery recycling can change the future

Lithium-ion is the most expensive type of battery to manufacture. Despite this, lithium ion continues to be the main type of battery used in electric vehicles. The Clean Energy Institute shares that lithium-ion batteries have the greatest potential for electric vehicles. This is due to its high energy density and relatively long useful life.

In 2016, a study by Argonne National Laboratory stated that the manufacturing and end-of-life processes for electric vehicle batteries have a higher carbon footprint than their traditional gasoline-powered counterparts. By efficiently recycling rare metals, electric vehicle manufacturers can close the loop between the two, becoming the final piece of the electric vehicle sustainability puzzle.

Battery bacteria

In recent times, other advances have been made in the field of recycling batteries for electric vehicles. However, there is still a long way to go in terms of recovering metals from electronic waste across all categories. In other words, not just in electric vehicles. Furthermore, by decreasing its dependence on mining, the manufacture of electric vehicles can also distance itself from the many problematic practices that plague the mining industry, such as human rights violations and environmental impact.

Since up to 40% of the cost of an electric vehicle is due to the battery, which is mainly responsible for its high price, reducing the costs of precious metals can also make electric vehicles more affordable for the average person.

This connection between batteries and bacteria is undoubtedly interesting.

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