It is well-established that there is a dire need for recycling and reusing on our planet. It is incumbent that the materials that are not entirely used, must be redeemed, and put to use in other ways instead of being wasted. A lot of companies are actively participating in promoting this. One of them is Tesla which claims to be an environmentally friendly and pollution-free organization, delivering products that are dependent on renewable and green sources of energy.
Recently, Tesla has filed a patent that requires the recovery of undamaged nickel and cobalt through the process of electrochemical dissolution. These two chemicals are the indispensable components of battery cells. Globally, there has been a decrease in their supply and companies are facing shortages.
On 29th July 2021, the patent was filed by three of the company’s engineers. It is named as Metal Sulfate Manufacturing System via Electrochemical Dissolution. Tesla is making it a priority because all of its electric vehicles are purely operated through batteries. The shortage is becoming worse by the day and Tesla cannot afford to lose business. The metals are extracted from the already used batteries and can be used to make more containers. The patent can be seen below.
Source: Metal Sulfate Manufacturing System via Electrochemical Dissolution by Joey Klender on Scribd
The experiment will be performed in an electrolyte made of sulfuric acid. The electrolyte bath has the batteries immersed inside. After the process of electrolysis, metals can be taken out from the bath by giving it low voltage, the undamaged material is then liberated to be collected.
Elon Musk is encouraging companies to make more nickel and extract more of the mentioned metals. This is because they give a sustainable and stable characteristic. Cobalt is not really an ideal choice, but it is a decent one, and if made available, can be widely applied. If Tesla manages to pull this off, it could extend its lead over the competition ever further!