Rechargeable batteries (storing energy)
It wasn’t that long ago that you had to pack a spare battery for your mobile phone to avoid running out of power in the middle of an important phone call. The rapid technological development of the materials used in rechargeable batteries has allowed these flashy, flickering mobile phones and PDAs to become not only a lot more powerful but also more compact.
Umicore has a world leading position in the field of cobalt-based materials for the widely used Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. That leadership position requires enormous technological efforts to be able to continue to meet customer requirements: the batteries need to be increasingly light, powerful and safe.
These batteries are increasingly being used in environmentally friendly hybrid cars, which have more exacting requirements in terms of the battery’s weight, power and resistance to shock and heat.
In this regard Umicore is also able to close the loop: old mobile phones – batteries included – can be recycled using our new in-house developed recycling technology.
DID YOU KNOW
Metals enjoy eternal life?
Metals can be infinitely recycled without losing any of their intrinsic properties. This is important in a world where the availability of metals, like many other resources, is limited. This is a particularly pressing issue at a time when we face seemingly ever-increasing demand for metals. Modern electronic applications for example, typically rely on more than 60 components - six times the number in the ‘80s.
Hybrid cars rely both on a traditional combustion engine and an electric motor supported by a powerful rechargeable battery. The engine provides most of the vehicle’s power, while the electric motor provides auxiliary power, for example for accelerating, passing or even low-speed/low acceleration driving. This combination allows for a smaller, more efficient engine to be used. There is no need to charge the battery externally as the electric power is generated by the gasoline engine or from regenerative braking.