Reconditioning lithium ion cells and batteries may offer an opportunity to re-use a product of significant value. However, the cells and batteries must be managed appropriately to assure that safe products are made available to the market.
Use of lithium ion cells and batteries that are reconditioned (also referred to as “refurbished,” “re-purposed,” “re-used” and “second use”) may present a significant safety risk for consumers, product manufacturers, shippers, transporters and other entities involved in their handling. The risk increases if the cells and batteries are used as components in products for which they were not originally designed.
Lithium ion cells and batteries are manufactured to very strict specifications, which may anticipate only use in one type of application. In addition, new cells and batteries must meet mandatory testing requirements imposed by governmental agencies.
Lithium ion cells that are removed from batteries or battery packs at the end-of-life may be compromised due to the hundreds of cycles (i.e., charging and discharging) to which they have been subjected, abusive use or damage during the dismantling process.
As a cell / battery is put to use, some degradation occurs and the individual cell capacity variation increases. Ensuring safe operation requires a sophisticated monitoring and control by the battery management system. Systems designed for particular new batteries may not be suitable for use with reconditioned cells or batteries.
In light of the foregoing considerations, PRBA strongly opposes the practice of reconditioning lithium ion cells and batteries unless the following conditions are met:
The entity reconditioning the cells and batteries is the original manufacturer of the cells or batteries or has direct knowledge of the cell degradation characteristics and safety systems that are necessary to maintain safe operation of cells in the anticipated application and is authorized to recondition the cells or batteries by the original cell manufacturer;
Except for reconditioned batteries shipped for testing purposes, batteries are tested or retested, as applicable, in accordance with the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria;
The batteries are marked “RECONDITIONED” or with substantially similar language; and
The entity that reconditions the cells and batteries is identified on the unit and assumes all legal responsibilities and liabilities associated with the use and final disposal of the cells and batteries.