USCAR Contracts with OnTo Technology to Advance Hybrid and Electric Car Battery Recycling

May 14, 2007 by Jeff Shepard

The United States Council for Automotive Research’s (USCAR) Vehicle Recycling Partnership (VRP), composed of DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corp., recently awarded a contract to OnTo Technology LLC of Bend, Oregon, to research and develop technology to recycle advanced batteries used in hybrid and electric vehicles.

The research will involve two kinds of advanced battery chemistries – nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) and lithium ion – and will examine the technical feasibility of recycling these types of automotive batteries, based upon laboratory scale experiments to evaluate the utility of materials produced from various recycling processes. The results will be used to project the investment necessary to adopt new recycling technologies in pilot scale operations.

"Hybrid-electric vehicles are more fuel efficient, but require high power and energy advanced battery packs. Because of these requirements, they are larger than the highly recycled lead acid batteries found in conventional vehicles," said USCAR Executive Director Don Walkowicz. "USCAR’s Vehicle Recycling Partnership, representing the three U.S. automakers, is working to get ahead of the curve by promoting new technologies to recycle these batteries when hybrid vehicles reach their end-of-life."

OnTo Technology develops new and clean processes to recycle advanced batteries from consumer electronics. "We will use our technology to recycle HEV and EV batteries," said Steven Sloop, founder and Chief Executive Officer of OnTo Technology LLC. "We recycle advanced batteries to recover micro- and nanomaterials for reuse in new batteries. It goes beyond the usual smelting solution, where these valuable materials are burned, and only the crude metal mixtures are recovered."

To maximize the recycling yield, OnTo will work in collaboration with Applied Intellectual Capital (AIC) of Emeryville, California. AIC’s core expertise is in electrochemical technology, nanomaterials and advanced separations.