Electric car batteries might be worth recycling, but bus batteries aren’t yet

A used electric vehicle battery.

Enlarge / A used lithium-ion electric vehicle battery sits at the 4R Energy Corporation Namie factory in Namie Town, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, on Monday, Mar. 26, 2018. (credit: Akio Kon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that there will be 559 million electric vehicles on the road by 2040. But electric vehicles don’t last forever. And their batteries are not always filled with the kinds of materials you would want leaching into the environment if they’re disposed of haphazardly. Policy makers and researchers have started considering how to deal with end-of-life on electric batteries, and recycling is often considered as an option.

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University published a paper in Nature Sustainability this week that looks at the emissions and economic costs associated with recycling automotive batteries. They specifically addressed batteries with three types of cathode chemistry: nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC), nickel cobalt aluminum oxide (NCA), and iron phosphate (LFP). The first two cathode chemistries are common in passenger vehicles, and LFP is common in buses (bus maker BYD uses LFP batteries, for example).

Since the packaging of batteries is important to the recycling method, cylindrical batteries (the types of cells that Tesla makes) are compared to pouch cell batteries in the analysis.

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She Taught Amelia Earhart to Fly

She Taught Amelia Earhart to Fly

Without Neta Snook, there may never have been an Amelia Earhart. “The Lone Aviatrix” of Iowa had been shattering the proverbial glass ceiling with her plane long before the Earhart took to the skies, and she did it in a plane she assembled in her parents’ backyard. In other words, Snook was the kind of woman who saw what she wanted, and didn’t just ask for it — she built it with her own two hands.


Despite alien theories and novel mutations, the real Ata puzzle may be ethical

Enlarge (credit: Bhattacharya et al. 2018)

In 2003, Oscar Munoz found a mummy in the Atacama Desert ghost town of La Noria. The six-inch-long mummy, now called Ata, has an elongated skull, oddly shaped eye sockets, and only ten pairs of ribs… which helped fuel wild speculation that she was an alien hybrid. Ata was sold several times—probably illegally—and ended up in the private collection of Barcelona entrepreneur and UFO enthusiast Ramón Navia-Osorio. A 2013 documentary called Sirius soon helped immortalize Ata, focusing heavily on the alien hybrid claims.

When a team led by University of California, San Francisco bioinformatics researcher Sanchita Bhattacharya recently sequenced the tiny mummy’s genome, however, it revealed only a girl of Chilean descent. There were a complicated set of genetic mutations, including some usually associated with bone and growth disorders and a few more that have never been described before. Those mutations, the researchers claim, may help explain her unusual appearance.

It’s easy to see why the team’s March paper attracted so much interest: a high-profile urban legend was fully debunked at last, but now there were hints at compelling medical discoveries. Most press outlets presented the results as conclusive, cut-and-dried science—except for a few UFO fan sites that loudly insisted the study was part of a cover-up. But even beyond the extraterrestrial exchanges, things have gotten very complicated, both in terms of the scientific claims and in terms of whether the research should have been done at all.

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She Raced the Boys and took their Trophies

She Raced the Boys and took their Trophies


She began driving secretly at the age of 14 in her father’s ‘borrowed’ Citroën 2CV and her earliest races took place on the gravel roads of the French riviera, trying to carve off the journey time between work and home in a Renault 4. Michèle Mouton became the first woman in rally driving to win a world championship, whilst still only finding her feet in the male-dominated sport, winning a total of four championship rallies for Audi and beating the men at their own game. More than 3 decades later, she is still the last woman to compete in top-level rallying.


Howard Phillips Lovecar (Kurki Collective)

“This is the night! All cultists gather on a nearby desert to open the gates for The Great Old Ones. Don’t let them!” – Author’s description

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