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More and more electric cars are hitting the roads. According to Bosch estimates, they will account for around 70 percent of all newly registered passenger cars in Europe by 2030. This is accompanied by an increasing demand for batteries and the recycling of the raw materials they contain, such as lithium, cobalt or nickel. Bosch has developed special machines, systems and software for this purpose. Its subsidiary Bosch Rexroth is now supplying the Battery Lifecycle Company, a joint venture between REMONDIS subsidiary TSR Recycling and Rhenus Automotive, with the first fully automated system in Europe for unloading and dismantling battery modules. "Electromobility can only become established in the long term if sufficient raw materials are available to produce the batteries. Recycling plays a key role and helps to place our value creation on a sustainable foundation: We reuse what we use and recover raw materials," says Dr Stefan Hartung, chairman of the Bosch board of management. Experts predict that recycling capacities for up to 420,000 tonnes of battery material per year will be needed in Europe by 2030. "If we want to build a European circular economy, we have to integrate recycling firmly into the life cycle of products and create the necessary infrastructure for this. Bosch is contributing with its technical expertise," explains Hartung. At HANNOVER MESSE 2023, Bosch will be presenting its industrial technology for battery recycling.

Efficient recycling as a building block of a circular economy
More and more electric cars combined with limited resources and increasing legal requirements for recycling - the challenges are increasing. "We are setting the course today for tomorrow. The batteries currently installed in vehicles will have reached their end of life in ten to 15 years. We need to use this window of opportunity to build the appropriate recycling capacities," says Dr Steffen Haack, Chairman of the Board of Management of Bosch Rexroth AG. According to the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research, the plant technology required for recycling will require investments of more than six billion euros by 2040 in Europe alone. This will pay off: With optimal recycling, up to 95 percent of the chemical elements can be reintroduced into the battery production process. The automated discharge system developed by Bosch Rexroth not only simplifies recycling, it also increases efficiency and enhances safety: modules can be deep discharged in just a few minutes. The system recognises different battery types in order to minimise risks such as short circuits and fires.

Model project at the Battery Lifecycle Company
Europe's first fully automated plant is currently being built at the Battery Lifecycle Company's site in Magdeburg. Bosch Rexroth is supplying the technology for this. Used batteries from different manufacturers are to be tested, deep-discharged and prepared for subsequent shredding on site. The new system transports battery material weighing up to 150 kilograms per workpiece carrier at a speed of 18 metres per second. Within less than 15 minutes, eight lithium-ion batteries of electric cars can be automatically discharged. With its automated solution, Bosch significantly increases the speed of recycling: with the current manual process, it takes up to 24 hours before the batteries are completely discharged. The patented discharge solution from Bosch is being used for the first time in the model project in Magdeburg: Battery modules are chemically inactivated in a process-safe manner, and further processing can take place without voltage. The residual energy from the modules is used to operate the plant. In addition, proven industrial technology from Bosch is used on site for battery production, such as flexible, modular transfer systems and the ctrlX AUTOMATION control platform. Up to 15,000 tonnes of battery material are to be recycled annually at the Battery Lifecycle Company site. Commissioning of the plant is planned for summer 2023.

Industrial technology from Bosch for recycling
Bosch has many years of experience in the development of automation and manufacturing technology for battery production. Industrial technology from Bosch is used by all German premium automakers and in numerous battery production facilities worldwide. Bosch is continuously expanding its portfolio along the value chain for battery production. The company has now developed specific hardware and software for battery recycling, which will be marketed worldwide together with partners and system integrators. In addition to fully automated battery module unloading stations, these include ergonomically flexible workstations for technical analysis and safe battery disassembly, transfer systems for transporting batteries of different weight classes, and software for guiding employees through various process steps. In addition, Bosch offers a "Track & Trace solution" for tracking the condition, material origin and processing status of batteries.