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Thread: e-Bikes - Let's talk

  1. #1061
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjclaeys View Post
    Sorry, but this guy is directly involved in the environmental aspects of lithium batteries, including their regulation and disposal, so he's pretty much of an expert on the issue.
    Great. I would love to see what he responds to my thoughts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sjclaeys View Post
    Sorry, but this guy is directly involved in the environmental aspects of lithium batteries, including their regulation and disposal, so he's pretty much of an expert on the issue.
    But (playing devil's advocate because it's the internet so arguments are fun) - when you say "there is no way to recycle lithium ion batteries" - that can mean a few different things. It could mean that it's literally impossible to do. Or, it could mean that there's currently no realistic way to either do it or to do it effectively here (e.g., it's the economics as Vicegrip mentioned).

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    Not to fuel debate, but out of genuine curiosity, I did some very brief research on recycling batteries and found the following information:

    Recycling Li-ion batteries is not yet profitable must be government subsidized. There is an incentive to recover costly cobalt. No recycling technology exists today that is capable of producing pure enough lithium for a second use in batteries. Lithium for batteries is mined; second hand lithium is used for lubricants, glass, ceramics and other applications.
    Source: http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/a...ling_batteries

    Intriguing... Further (yet, still brief) research has indicated that there are new processes being developed that are making the extract of lithium and cobalt from Lithium Ion batteries more efficient.
    According to Ataur Rahman of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, at the International Islamic University Malaysia and colleague in the Department of Economics, Rafia Afroz, explain that the price of both lithium and cobalt is rising as demand for lithium ion batteries which require both metals for their construction are increasingly in demand. They have investigated a recycling technology that can extract with reasonable efficiency the metals from scrap batteries.
    Source: Rahman, A. and Afroz, R. Lithium battery recycling management and policy. Int. J. Energy Technology and Policy, Vol. 13, No. 3, pp.278-291

    I want to learn more, but my job is getting in the way of my research time...

  4. #1064
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjclaeys View Post
    Sorry, but this guy is directly involved in the environmental aspects of lithium batteries, including their regulation and disposal, so he's pretty much of an expert on the issue.
    I know you had this conversation with this guy, but what you report doesn't match what I've been reading about and hearing about for years (I've had and been looking into ebikes since 2011). Europe has directives about recycling lots of things and has been recycling these things for years. e.g. https://electricbikereview.com/forum...ery-year.2486/ I've read a bunch about the life cycle of these batteries, and have seen plenty of other write ups about how they are recycled. I read (but can't find quickly) a fairly long post about how Luna Cycles build their batteries, and I believe they recycle.

    Hybrid Pedals in Arlington and ElectriCity in Tenleytown can help folks replace batteries. Batteries do run a couple hundred dollars each, but $100 for a used "ebike without battery" plus $400 for a battery + retrofit is still a pretty great deal.

    There have been plenty of studies of the carbon footprint of ebikes. Ebikes clearly come out as the most carbon-efficient way to get around on wheels. And again, they seem to be replacing more car trips than regular bike trips, so a very, very clear positive move for the environment.

    (e.g. https://www.carplusbikeplus.org.uk/p...bon-emissions/ https://sites.google.com/site/shelby...sustainability)

  5. #1065
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    I know you had this conversation with this guy, but what you report doesn't match what I've been reading about and hearing about for years (I've had and been looking into ebikes since 2011). Europe has directives about recycling lots of things and has been recycling these things for years. e.g. https://electricbikereview.com/forum...ery-year.2486/ I've read a bunch about the life cycle of these batteries, and have seen plenty of other write ups about how they are recycled. I read (but can't find quickly) a fairly long post about how Luna Cycles build their batteries, and I believe they recycle.

    Hybrid Pedals in Arlington and ElectriCity in Tenleytown can help folks replace batteries. Batteries do run a couple hundred dollars each, but $100 for a used "ebike without battery" plus $400 for a battery + retrofit is still a pretty great deal.

    There have been plenty of studies of the carbon footprint of ebikes. Ebikes clearly come out as the most carbon-efficient way to get around on wheels. And again, they seem to be replacing more car trips than regular bike trips, so a very, very clear positive move for the environment.

    (e.g. https://www.carplusbikeplus.org.uk/p...bon-emissions/ https://sites.google.com/site/shelby...sustainability)


    200 watt hours is only 174 calories, but humans are at best only 25% efficient at converting food calories to useable energy.
    This means it would take at least 700 calories from food to travel 30 miles a day.


    That assumes A. There is no change in equilibrium weight for the rider (they make up for their calorie burn by eating more calories) B. They do not substitute bike riding for any other form of exercise

    My personal belief is that for many or most human powered riders, our calorie intake does not increase to fully offset our calorie burn. Instead we lose weight and end up at a lower equilibrium weight. Still a net calorie intake increase for most, I suppose, but not as high as you get by the above formula. So one would have to adjust for that. I know that occurred in my case, even though I was already close to CDC normal BMI when I started riding. Given that 2/3 of American adults are overweight or obese, there is a lot of room to adjust equilibrium weight.

    Assuming most people who are NOT overweight or obese are engaged in some other form of exercise, and biking is a substitute, there would likely be no incremental calorie burn for them (though for that subset no improvement in health outcomes).

    To the extent that there are people in the CDC normal weight range who do not exercise, I can only say "hat's off". Though they will still have significant improvement in health outcomes from riding even if their weight remains the same.

    I wonder what energy usage is as an input to health care expenditure (I know that is not how we usually look at the energy impact of biking, but I am curious) edit - its about 2.5% of total inputs (labor excluded) to the health,education, social services sector(based on BEA inputs-outputs). Maybe higher for health, but still not huge.

    Note, from my limited experience on an ebike, I know that ebike riding DOES involve human calorie expenditure. Slightly offsetting the health outcome differential in favor of human riding. But the energy analysis above does not seem to reflect incremental food usage for ebiking.

    Note, also, even the vegetarian diet seems to assume standard energy intensive farming. I am not sure how much the average energy usage of farming (all grain/vegetable farming, not just organic or other specialities)would change if we had a carbon tax, and applied that tax to agriculture. (I also note the last time carbon pricing was proposed in Congress, agriculture was exempt)
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 02-23-2018 at 12:32 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sjclaeys View Post
    Sorry, but this guy is directly involved in the environmental aspects of lithium batteries, including their regulation and disposal, so he's pretty much of an expert on the issue.
    Something is being lost in translation. I am not saying it is common to recycle LiPo type cells in the traditional way right now. Real easy to dig around and see that lithium and other components can be extracted and put to use. My point is only that the tech is not cost effective right now. 20 years ago my bike was not just un-affordable it was inconceivable. 5 years ago slinging your personal electric car past Mars orbit while landing the booster rockets on land standing up on deployed legs was simply inconceivable. Now it is so 15 min ago.... Recycling a common component like an 18650 might not be cost effective but we will be able to do it if we want to. The best driver of want is $$$. Make the end of life be paid for up front to increase want. Some day car, bike, aircraft, lawnmower, power drill or laptop power packs might be universal in basic components. As example, Tesla car, boat and storage power packs are amassed from 18650s. Good potential future outcome? End of life the worn out cells all go into the same well thought out recycle system and the power pack frameworks are reloaded with new cells.

    Your expert guy have any ideas moving forward? I ask this without snark. I would like to see where the ind and regs are heading. The genie is not going back in the bottle. Electrons will be forced to congregate and create power potential. We humans will need to harness and store this power. From the dirt floor hut with a 10 watt PV panel lashed to a stick feeding an single LED for light in the evening to the 1500 HP super EV car at the nearby showroom we Humans will be storing electrons. This is not a small scale thing. This not a Arlington and E-bikes thing this is Humanity moving past hydrocarbon based fuels thing. More energy falls on us from the sun every few seconds than we Humans use in a year. All we need to do is catch and store a little bit of it.
    Last edited by Vicegrip; 02-24-2018 at 10:33 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    200 watt hours is only 174 calories, but humans are at best only 25% efficient at converting food calories to useable energy.
    This means it would take at least 700 calories from food to travel 30 miles a day.

    I'm surprised by those numbers. I spend about twice that many calories to bike 30 miles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vicegrip View Post
    I wonder how many e-bikes will be on the road once the original battery takes a dump? At some point they will need a new battery.
    There is a company in Nevada that can rebuild battery packs with replacement cells, this is very useful if you bought a custom designed frame integrated battery rather than a generic battery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vicegrip View Post
    Your expert guy have any ideas moving forward? I ask this without snark. I would like to see where the ind and regs are heading. The genie is not going back in the bottle. Electrons will be forced to congregate and create power potential. We humans will need to harness and store this power.
    The one thing that's certain is that the future isn't lithion ion batteries. If I knew which of the replacements in the R&D stream would end up the winner, I'd be making some very big investments. Sadly, I don't.

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    Thanks to @huskerdont for posting this in the dockless bikeshare thread, e-scooters are being distributed around metro stations in DC. Popville commenter suggests they cannot be classed as a personal mobility device like a Segway because the wheels are in tandem hence not permitted in bike lanes.
    Last edited by Dewey; 02-28-2018 at 08:28 AM.

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