"Researchers find materials in lithium ion batteries may harm key soil bacterium."
February 9, 2016
"Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Minnesota have shown that the material at the heart of the lithium ion batteries may impair a key soil bacterium. The study shows that the growing use of new nanoscale materials used in the rechargeable batteries used to power electric vehicles, laptop computers and smartphones may have untold environmental consequences particularly in the common soil and sediment bacterium Shewanella oneidensis. Researchers say compound nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC), an emerging material manufactured in the form of nanoparticles, and other mixed metal oxides used in lithium ion battery technology may be toxic to soil bacteria."
“There is a really good national infrastructure for recycling lead batteries,” Hamers says. “However, as we move toward these cheaper materials there is no longer a strong economic force for recycling. But even if the economic drivers are such that you can use these new engineered materials, the idea is to keep them out of the landfills. There is going to be 75 to 80 pounds of these mixed metal oxides in the cathodes of an electric vehicle.”