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  • Dear Readers!

    At the beginning of December, delegates from 195 UN member states and the EU travelled to Paris to try and find a compromise to curb global warming – a compromise which all countries should then honour. Their primary goal has been to find a new agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol which ends in 2020. They had not reached the end of their deliberations when this magazine went to print but one thing has become very clear: the significance of the recycling industry as a means to preventing climate change continues to be underestimated. And yet there are so many excellent examples that demonstrate how sending waste for materials recycling not only protects our environment and conserves our dwindling supplies of natural resources but also helps to curb global warming. REMONDIS’ Lippe Plant in Lünen reduces emissions of CO2 equivalents by almost half a million tonnes every year by recycling waste and producing regenerative energy. And this is just one plant in REMONDIS’ network of approx. 500 facilities. If the whole world were to use the full potential of the raw materials and energy hidden in waste, then recycling would put an end to global warming. Logically, Klima Expo.NRW has accepted three more of REMONDIS’ areas of expertise onto its list of qualified projects following the nomination of its biogas plant in Coesfeld at the beginning of the year. These and other recycling plants and projects will help to spread the message that recycling has a long list of advantages and is one of the best ways to counteract climate change.  

    Recycled paper is one of these raw materials that can help curb global warming: it can be used as a substitute for paper made from virgin fibres and so help reduce the need to fell our trees. The following figures clearly demonstrate that sustainable forest management is not at the top of every country’s list. We are currently losing around 13 million hectares or 130,000km² of forest every single year. That is the equivalent to a forest the size of England being cut down every year. Forests are an effective way of preventing climate change as each and every tree absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere. Paper recycling helps protect our forests and probably has the biggest impact on the carbon footprint of our informed society which still turns to paper formats as their main source of information despite the presence of the Internet. REMONDIS provides the paper industry with huge supplies of high quality recycled paper, helping the sector to become more sustainable.

    Sustainability, however, starts before recycling is actually needed. The European Waste Framework Directive puts re-use in second place after waste prevention and ahead of materials recycling. It is, therefore, a logical decision for Daimler, REMONDIS and a number of other partners to set up the world’s largest second use battery storage unit made from used lithium-ion batteries at the Lippe Plant. The batteries, which will come from the growing number of electric cars, still have 90 % of their storage capacity after they can no longer be used in the vehicles – more than enough to help stabilise the grid as more and more electricity is provided by fluctuating regenerative energy sources. After approx.10 years use in this battery storage unit, the batteries can then be sent for efficient materials recycling – perfectly closing the life cycle of this product.

    We would like to thank all our friends, partners and employees for their goodwill and loyalty throughout the past year and wish them a very happy Christmas and all the very best for the New Year. 

    Yours

    Max Koettgen

Focusing on increasing the environmental performance of electric vehicles

REMONDIS’ Lippe Plant is soon to be home to the largest second use battery storage unit currently to be found in the world. Due to start operations at the beginning of next year, this system is to be run by a joint venture consisting of Daimler AG, The Mobility House AG and GETEC on REMONDIS SE’s grounds. The power produced by the unit will be marketed in Germany to help level out fluctuations in the power grid. The special feature of this project is its use of used battery systems from electric cars. Systems from second-generation smart electric drive vehicles are to be incorporated into a stationary storage unit in Lünen which will have a total capacity 13 MWh. This scheme will help improve the environmental performance of electric vehicles and make e-mobility more economical. It was not a coincidence that REMONDIS was selected to join the group. REMONDIS Industrie Service is currently developing new ways to recycle lithium-ion batteries when they reach the end of their useful life.

Battery storage units important for Germany's energy switch

Following their motto – ‘E-mobility thought through to the end’ – Daimler, The Mobility House, GETEC and REMONDIS have initiated this project in Lünen that covers the whole of the life cycle of a battery: from the production and processing of the battery systems at Daimler’s subsidiary, ACCUMOTIVE, to the range of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles offered by Daimler AG, to the installation and marketing of the stationary battery storage unit to the energy markets by The Mobility House and GETEC, all the way through to the recycling of the battery systems by REMONDIS when they reach the end of their useful life and the recovery of the valuable raw materials so that they can be returned to production cycles.

High performance battery storage units will be an essential part of the energy market if Germany’s goal of switching from fossil to renewable energy is to be a success. They will be key to stabilising the grid as more and more electricity is provided by fluctuating renewable energy sources, such as wind farms and solar power stations. They can level out the dips in the energy supply with virtually no loss – a task partly being done at the moment by power stations run on fossil fuels. All this can help speed up Germany’s transition to renewable energy and prevent money having to be spent on extending the grid or building new power stations.

The European Waste Framework Directive implemented perfectly: first re-use, then materials recycling.

Resource-friendly re-use rather than disposal

Thanks to this second use battery storage project in Lünen, the four partners are clearly showing that the life cycle of a plug-in or electric vehicle battery need not come to an end when it can no longer be used in a vehicle. Depending on the model of vehicle, Daimler AG offers its electric vehicle customers a battery life guarantee of up to ten years. The battery systems, however, are still fully operational after this period, as the low levels of power loss are insignificant when used in a stationary storage unit. In fact, it is estimated that they can continue to operate efficiently as a stationary unit for at least a further ten years.

Operational life doubled

  • It will, therefore, be a while before the final stage of the chain – recycling the batteries to recover the raw materials – is actually put into practice. The commercial service life of lithium-ion modules from electric cars will be practically doubled by re-using them in the second use battery storage unit. This innovative project, therefore, meets one of the primary demands of the European Waste Framework Directive as set out in its five-stage waste hierarchy: that the re-use of products should be given preference to materials recycling. Mobility experts are expecting the number of electric cars on our roads to increase rapidly over the coming years. The number of used li-ion batteries being handed in for recycling will rise accordingly. Together with REMONDIS, Daimler, The Mobility House and GETEC have laid the foundation for the best possible re-use of these batteries and sustainably closed the life cycle of this relatively new product.

    • Klemens Rethmann, Board Spokesman of the RETHMANN Group, Uwe Beckmeyer, Parliamentary State Secretary in the German Economy and Energy Ministry, Dr Dieter Zetsche, CEO Daimler, Dr Karl Gerhold, CEO GETEC, and Thomas Raffeiner, CEO The Mobility House, at the groundbreaking ceremony at the Lippe Plant

The project partners

REMONDIS

REMONDIS is one of the world’s largest recycling, service and water companies. One of REMONDIS’ future goals is to recycle lithium-ion batteries on an industrial scale. The group operates in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia to provide a sustainable supply of raw materials and water.

The Mobility House AG

The Mobility House AG (TMH) is revolutionising the energy markets with its vehicle batteries. Using innovative technologies, TMH is making it possible to integrate electric vehicles into the power grid. TMH is working with GETEC in Lünen to install and operate the storage unit – and to sell the electricity to energy markets. Founded in 2009, TMH collaborates with all leading automotive manufacturers in more than 20 countries from its sites in Munich, Zurich and San Francisco.

Daimler AG

Daimler AG is one of the world’s most successful automotive companies. The Mercedes-Benz brand stands for high-quality vehicles that both fascinate and delight its customers. The company is also the world’s largest producer of commercial vehicles, operating in a variety of business sectors. It entered the stationary energy storage sector together with its subsidiary ACCUMOTIVE in May 2015 – covering both industrial mass storage and private applications.

GETEC

GETEC ENERGIE AG, a company belonging to the energy service provider GETEC, develops bespoke solutions for supplying electricity and gas. It also markets energy. GETEC and TMH are both shareholders of Coulomb GmbH.

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