Used Batteries and Recycling Issues

George S.

Well-Known Member
Everyone seems to understand that batteries are the future. The main thing that drives battery power is cost. People are buying some electric cars, BEV’s, but they are buying a lot of ebikes. I don’t know how much people know about battery power as it pertains to an ebike. There are grades of fuel, but not very many. With a battery you deal with voltage sags, life cycles, peak amps, optimal charge voltages, and other complications.

It’s a good idea to recycle batteries. If we have huge fleets of BEV’s, we have to have solutions for the packs as they age. Over the past few years, Jehu Garcia has been an advocate for practical recycling. His store and the Battery Hookup store both offer used battery packs. It used to be that used packs were the bottom level of battery, stuff like failed hoverboard packs. These days, the stuff that is recycled is often from Medical devices or high end back up packs for computer systems. Medical devices may have a date where they have to be pulled, even with few cycles. Plus they are the quality cells.

If you can find a 48v pack, it may be possible to just use it. Of course, most ebikes are locked down with a special battery. Even standard packs can have small differences. But a 48v pack is fairly standard. If you build a DIY bike, you probably put a standard and relatively generic connector on the power cables. One example is the XT60 that is common in the hobby market, scale model stuff.

The styling on an ebike has become a key marketing tool. The ebike is supposed to be stealth or just clean. If you put a battery in a highly engineered slot, it is going to be a proprietary battery. You are locked into the company’s price. Or, worst case, they disappear. The other side of the coin, for a DIY bike, is the used market. A decent pack can last. The basic test is to run the pack down and see how it performs versus the new specs.

This is a good example of a very low cost battery pack that came from server farms, basically fancy UPS batteries. It’s not a small pack. How do you carry it? I have a basket on the back of my ebike. It’s a cheap rack and a $15 basket from Amazon that holds a kitchen size trash bag. It’s a great basket and I wire it to the rack. It holds any battery I have. But I also have a top tube bag that looks nice and holds my Liito Kala hundred dollar pack.

https://batteryhookup.com/products/panasonic-48v-power-module-13s-6-4a-300wh

David Poz has a popular YT site that deals with a lot of alternative energy stuff. Battery Hookup sent him one of these packs and he did a professional job of mounting it. He covers some of the background on the packs. He removed the circuit board that covers the pack. One reason for the low price is the lack of a BMS protection board. Poz added an almost ludicrously robust board in his case. He may have spent around what the pack costs. But adding a BMS is where people need some knowledge and skill. The basic BMS boards that feature in most ebike packs can be found on Ebay. You can go lower with Alibaba. You look for an amperage rating. The US limit is around 15 amps, so a 30 amp BMS has room to spare. You can get US stock or shift to China. You can go Ebay or Ali. And then you have to know how to wire it. Poz really explains this for this pack, which is extremely helpful. This is basic soldering. You can use batteries without a BMS, if you monitor them and charge carefully.

There is an ebb and flow to DIY. Right now, the people coming in to ebikes are Nooby Plus in terms of experience. At some point people will be more comfortable, maybe more curious. They may see some DIY stuff or they may see the battery options. A few years ago people built bikes and they built battery packs. Ebikes may get more expensive, but battery packs may get quite cheap. So the incentive to build battery packs from harvested cells is disappearing. But the recycled stuff that is already built and ‘plug and play’ is going to be very cheap. The idea is to keep it out of the landfill.

Jehu (JAG35) and Tom (Hookup) are pretty creative. They may find ways to harvest cells and make packs. They could make generic 48v packs. The inverter pack, Bluetti and all, is very hot. People may come to see that the all in one nature of the inverter pack is expensive. Jag35 has offered a clever way to increase the capacity of the Bluetti with used packs that are just plugged in. You really need to know enough about this stuff to have a good idea what you are doing. Right now, buying an ebike doesn’t mean people learn about electric motors, controllers, and batteries. This could change. The more you know, the more options you have.

Certainly an ebike battery can be a great emergency power pack, if you can set it up. There is a great little solar charge controller for ebike packs. Plug and Play, once you set the voltage. So, with a solar panel and an ebike battery, you have an emergency battery system with a lot of options- chargers, 48v inverters, etc. Actually, this is what Bluetti and Jackery are selling, in a Swiss Army knife package. If you have an ebike battery, you have a potential piece of that system. Can you even tap into your battery? After the Texas power fiasco this winter, people probably should consider how they can stay warm or stay cool, power things that use electricity, etc.
 

kmccune

Active Member
Everyone seems to understand that batteries are the future. The main thing that drives battery power is cost. People are buying some electric cars, BEV’s, but they are buying a lot of ebikes. I don’t know how much people know about battery power as it pertains to an ebike. There are grades of fuel, but not very many. With a battery you deal with voltage sags, life cycles, peak amps, optimal charge voltages, and other complications.

It’s a good idea to recycle batteries. If we have huge fleets of BEV’s, we have to have solutions for the packs as they age. Over the past few years, Jehu Garcia has been an advocate for practical recycling. His store and the Battery Hookup store both offer used battery packs. It used to be that used packs were the bottom level of battery, stuff like failed hoverboard packs. These days, the stuff that is recycled is often from Medical devices or high end back up packs for computer systems. Medical devices may have a date where they have to be pulled, even with few cycles. Plus they are the quality cells.

If you can find a 48v pack, it may be possible to just use it. Of course, most ebikes are locked down with a special battery. Even standard packs can have small differences. But a 48v pack is fairly standard. If you build a DIY bike, you probably put a standard and relatively generic connector on the power cables. One example is the XT60 that is common in the hobby market, scale model stuff.

The styling on an ebike has become a key marketing tool. The ebike is supposed to be stealth or just clean. If you put a battery in a highly engineered slot, it is going to be a proprietary battery. You are locked into the company’s price. Or, worst case, they disappear. The other side of the coin, for a DIY bike, is the used market. A decent pack can last. The basic test is to run the pack down and see how it performs versus the new specs.

This is a good example of a very low cost battery pack that came from server farms, basically fancy UPS batteries. It’s not a small pack. How do you carry it? I have a basket on the back of my ebike. It’s a cheap rack and a $15 basket from Amazon that holds a kitchen size trash bag. It’s a great basket and I wire it to the rack. It holds any battery I have. But I also have a top tube bag that looks nice and holds my Liito Kala hundred dollar pack.

https://batteryhookup.com/products/panasonic-48v-power-module-13s-6-4a-300wh

David Poz has a popular YT site that deals with a lot of alternative energy stuff. Battery Hookup sent him one of these packs and he did a professional job of mounting it. He covers some of the background on the packs. He removed the circuit board that covers the pack. One reason for the low price is the lack of a BMS protection board. Poz added an almost ludicrously robust board in his case. He may have spent around what the pack costs. But adding a BMS is where people need some knowledge and skill. The basic BMS boards that feature in most ebike packs can be found on Ebay. You can go lower with Alibaba. You look for an amperage rating. The US limit is around 15 amps, so a 30 amp BMS has room to spare. You can get US stock or shift to China. You can go Ebay or Ali. And then you have to know how to wire it. Poz really explains this for this pack, which is extremely helpful. This is basic soldering. You can use batteries without a BMS, if you monitor them and charge carefully.

There is an ebb and flow to DIY. Right now, the people coming in to ebikes are Nooby Plus in terms of experience. At some point people will be more comfortable, maybe more curious. They may see some DIY stuff or they may see the battery options. A few years ago people built bikes and they built battery packs. Ebikes may get more expensive, but battery packs may get quite cheap. So the incentive to build battery packs from harvested cells is disappearing. But the recycled stuff that is already built and ‘plug and play’ is going to be very cheap. The idea is to keep it out of the landfill.

Jehu (JAG35) and Tom (Hookup) are pretty creative. They may find ways to harvest cells and make packs. They could make generic 48v packs. The inverter pack, Bluetti and all, is very hot. People may come to see that the all in one nature of the inverter pack is expensive. Jag35 has offered a clever way to increase the capacity of the Bluetti with used packs that are just plugged in. You really need to know enough about this stuff to have a good idea what you are doing. Right now, buying an ebike doesn’t mean people learn about electric motors, controllers, and batteries. This could change. The more you know, the more options you have.

Certainly an ebike battery can be a great emergency power pack, if you can set it up. There is a great little solar charge controller for ebike packs. Plug and Play, once you set the voltage. So, with a solar panel and an ebike battery, you have an emergency battery system with a lot of options- chargers, 48v inverters, etc. Actually, this is what Bluetti and Jackery are selling, in a Swiss Army knife package. If you have an ebike battery, you have a potential piece of that system. Can you even tap into your battery? After the Texas power fiasco this winter, people probably should consider how they can stay warm or stay cool, power things that use electricity, etc.
I happen to like XT connectors, you can even get an antispark one.
 

Fred

Active Member
For anyone who is interested in what happens (or could happen) to our e-bike batteries at end of life, Li-Cycle will be hosting the inaugural Battery Recycling Day seminar on Oct 6. Li-Cycle is a Toronto based company focussing on end-of-life solutions for lithium-ion batteries, along with creating a secondary supply of critical battery materials.

More details and a pointer to register for the session at:

https://financialpost.com/pmn/press...cycle-to-host-inaugural-battery-recycling-day
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
There are a lot of issues that feed into lith recycling. Even 5 years ago, when the 'waste' was laptop cells and other smaller packs, you could sort of give it away or resell the higher quality cells. Now the price of new cells has dropped. A quality used cell can run $.50. So you could make a decent ebike battery for $50. But no one is doing it. It's too hard to explain. You fight the marketing from huge companies. The scale has shifted.

Seems like this comes down to EV packs, so maybe there is some time before the flood shows up. One thing is certain, the tendency for large and high performance cars and especially trucks/SUV's means bigger packs. In China young people drive a small EV with a 10 kwh pack. Here it is 10x that. Just a lot more to recycle. Nothing at that level can be repurposed.

Should I really trust the industry, EV companies, to set this up? I know that Ebike companies could go to LFP chemistries and probably make 10 year packs. They don't seem to want to do that. Obviously you have to look at the potential value of the 'waste', the factors that lead to the gross tonnage of 'waste', and the overall decisionmaking for BEV vehicles. It seems like the producers of lith will have to be accountable if the waste is a huge problem, down the road. It's exciting to see huge cell factories, but is that the best way to go, given the clock that is ticking on every cell they produce? 1024px-五菱宏光mini_EV_9733_1.jpg