Secure Development is the constellation of values, beliefs, technologies, working-knowledge, and practices that lessen vulnerabilities. The manufacture and recycling of EV batteries turn on an assortment of secure development factors:  design adoptions, vehicle types, range, freight requirements, and supply chain sustainability and security from lithium fields. United European Car Carriers (UECC), a roll-on/roll-off shipping line in Oslo that transports cargo on short sea routes within Europe, has recommended Minimum and Maximum State of Charge (SOC) values for EV High voltage batteries during Marine Transport.

The UECC recommends that vehicles that can be set to a “transport mode”, and which run on a “power down” mode throughout the logistics chain, must have sufficient battery power to safely operate the primary functions of the car. Hybrids with the possibility to drive on the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) with the electric mode disengaged, are required to do so. If this is impossible, the vehicles are recommended to have the SOC within the twenty per cent to fifty per cent range.

The lower-end SOC twenty per cent limitation is recommended to ensure minimum basic driving and operation of the vehicle, covering dwell time on the port, vessel load, and discharge operations. Making EVs green means making sure that the lithium-ion batteries are taken care of properly when they reach the end of life. EV batteries have to be expertly dismantled by mechanical and electrical engineers. The protective case around the battery is unscrewed and the adhesive and silicone are removed. Voltage measurements are taken. Temperature is also measured. If this jumps above ambient temperature, it is a warning that something is wrong.

Mercedes-Benz plans to build a new sustainable battery recycling factory in Kuppenheim, Germany. The model factory will secure some components from depleted batteries without the use of chemical methods. The batteries will be stabilized before handling. The modules are then taken apart, and categorized. The pilot plant aims to cut resource consumption and establish a closed-loop recycling process.

The annual output is projected to be about 2500 tonnes. This can contribute to the production of more than 50,000 new battery modules. The primary stage of the pilot factory – mechanical dismantling – begins at the end of 2023. Once public sector dialogue advances favourably, Mercedes-Benz hopes to build a hydrometallurgy plant. This innovative approach for an integrated recycling concept within a single factory is unique in Europe. Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection is funding the pilot as part of a scientific research mission. This pilot factory is a decisive step for Mercedes-Benz’s sustainable business strategy – “Electric Only”.

Junior miners and prospectors in Canada hoping to produce lithium and nickel are now perturbed by Canada’s crackdown on overseas investment in fields of green energy metals. Ottawa has bolstered Canada’s Investment Act (ICA) to unwind or block critical minerals investments. This gives officials of the state greater authority and control over companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The changes are set to be finalized in the next few months in Canada.

The review process of the ICA can be lengthy and uncertain and the review is taking place in the shadow of recent geopolitical tensions in Europe. China has invested US$7B in Canada’s base metal sector over the last two decades according to S&P Market Intelligence. Canada’s government requested last year that three companies divest stakes in three Toronto-listed lithium companies on grounds of national security.

Ottawa aims to build a future of resilient minerals supply chains to protect Canada’s critical minerals sectors from foreign state-owned companies. The divestitures requested came after careful scrutiny of foreign companies by Canada’s national security and intelligence community. Toronto is a premier destination for junior mining companies to raise capital, above even rival exchanges in Sydney, London, and New York. Nearly fifty per cent of the world’s mining corporations are listed in Canada. From Monday, March 6th to Friday 10th March, the annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) hosted the world’s largest gathering of mining companies and their financial backers.

In 2023, Canada, the United States, Britain, and a few other countries established a new partnership aimed at securing the supply of critical minerals as global demand for these inputs climbs. While Canada welcomes foreign direct investment, it is watchful over its critical minerals supply chains, both at home and abroad. The green terra firma that we are traversing is troubled by decarbonisation and recycling.  Only advances in our materials science can make it secure.

Companies are making public their goals that have been validated by the Science Based Targets that are in line with a 1.5-degree pathway. Committed companies everywhere have established Green Teams to drive environmental initiatives. These teams build awareness about secure development.  The planet faces two converging environmental crises that are inextricably coupled and compounding: climate change and the quickening destruction of ecosystems.

There can be no commitment outside of Secure Development. Climate change is the defining issue of the moment. As pressure to decarbonise increases and the demand for EVs outstrips the supply, car manufacturers are racing to address the emissions challenge in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries, and the recycling of these batteries.