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Germany pumps millions into robotic car battery hub

The German ministry of the environment is investing EUR 13 million in a car battery and electric vehicle motor dismantling R&D project.

The main objective of the DeMoBat collaborative project is a robot-assisted dismantling factory for traction batteries and electric motors for EVs. This facility will be built in the Baden-Württemberg area, which is known as the ‘birthplace of the automotive industry’.

The new site opens the door to replacing individual cells in replacement batteries as well as second-life applications such as energy storage systems. The same applies to the electric motors, in which the rare earth permanent magnets and the copper coils are particularly valuable components.

Parties working on the four-year project include scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute, the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology and the Clausthal Environmental Technology Research Centre. DeMoBat will also receive support from the automotive and recycling sectors.

‘This project is unique in Germany,’ says environment minister Franz Untersteller. ‘If the research project enables us to recycle individual parts such as cobalt, nickel and graphite industrially and automatically through different, environmentally friendly processes, we not only make ourselves less dependent on raw material imports but can also significantly improve the environmental balance of electric vehicles. In this way, we conserve rare raw materials and also advance the status of German industry.’

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