08. November 2019 | 07:50 CET
BMW, NEL ASA, IWATER GROUP - TODAY RECOGNIZE THE TOPICS OF THE FUTURE
This week, the German government decided to create incentives to buy e-mobility with higher subsidies. For example, government support for the purchase of a new car was increased from EUR 4,000 to EUR 6,000. The large car batteries of the electric cars, however, can lead to an extended problem of electronic scrap at landfills all over the world due to a lack of recycling methods and infrastructure if solutions are not worked out at the same time.
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WHO WILL BUY BATTERY CARS?
The carmakers BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen have politicians on their side for more support to drive the electromobility project forward. The current sales figures for battery cars are sober. Despite all the marketing measures, according to the Federal Motor Transport Authority, 47,903 battery-powered cars were registered in Germany in the first nine months of 2019, which corresponds to just 1.7% of the total number of 2,740,158 passenger cars. Battery cars are expected to play a role in the future mobility mix, but no technology is free.
WHO TAKES CARE OF ELECTRONIC SCRAP?
The lithium-ion batteries used to power electric cars of all kinds are made of metals that are degraded under considerable environmental and human stress and do not last forever. For example, with a low battery weight of 250 kilograms, 1,000,000 cars generate an additional 250,000 tons of waste. Powerful vehicles like the Tesla S have batteries weighing over 700 kilograms on board.
WHO BEARS THE COSTS OF RECYCLING?
The batteries of the various battery manufacturers have different standards, which does not make recycling any easier. It is also important to bear the costs, because recycling will become costly. Before we get there, there is another important question: Where should all the raw materials for the batteries come from? The annual demand for lithium is expected to exceed the current production rates from the mines as early as 2022 and by 2050 the demand for cobalt could exceed the known planetary reserves.
WHEN WILL THE HYDROGEN FILLING STATION NETWORK BE IN PLACE?
A real alternative to a purely battery-powered vehicle is the fuel cell. The refuelling process in connection with hydrogen technology is comparable with petrol and diesel on the basis of duration and range. In Germany there is a nationwide network of around 14,000 filling stations offering petrol and diesel.
A similar number of hydrogen filling stations will probably be sufficient to make hydrogen technology socially acceptable. A much smaller number compared to millions of charging stations for battery cars. The Norwegian company NEL ASA develops devices for the production of hydrogen and thus plays an interesting role in connection with the development of a filling station network for this energy carrier.
WHO CLEANS WATER IN AN ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY WAY?
The waste product of the fuel cell is water, and iWater Group Limited is also concerned with this future topic. With its products and processes, the company focuses on the purification of contaminated water. According to the company, products have been used worldwide in agriculture, food processing, livestock farming and oil & gas since 2018. Since then, they have ensured environmentally compatible purification of water and a reduction in the use of antibiotics and pesticides.
Last month, the former CEO of Kühne + Nagel, Reinhard Lange, was appointed to the company's Executive Board with responsibility for Globalization & Logistics. Water, the staple food, will gain in importance and the topic of cleaning will continue to occupy us more in the future.