Ni/Zn batteries with reasonable cycle lives for motive power applications are being developed. Enough progress has been made that small batteries have been proposed for electric scooters and other light transportation applications. Upgrading to larger packs for EVs may occur with further development and experience since the battery would be relatively inexpensive and environmentally friendly. A detailed recycling plan has not been formulated for this technology, but the battery does not contain any particularly hazardous materials. The untreated batteries would be considered hazardous waste because of the corrosive alkaline electrolyte, but this could be recovered or treated to eliminate that problem. Although no TCLP tests are known to have been done on this battery, it seems likely that enough nickel could leach to cause the waste to be considered hazardous due to toxicity in regions where nickel is regulated. Since there are no other regulated materials in this battery, the waste would not be hazardous according to EPA regulations. The only impediment to recycling could be economic in that the single high-value material is nickel. However, the INMETCO smelting process fits well with the battery system because it recovers both nickel and zinc. Nickel/zinc batteries have been recycled by INMETCO with no apparent difficulty.
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