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Life cycle of lithium-ion batteries Header
Circular economy for maximum sustainability

Li-ion battery life cycle

As the market leader in the field of electromobility, Jungheinrich offers intralogistics solutions that are more energy-efficient and reduce CO2 emissions. In order to achieve this, the entire life cycle of our lithium-ion batteries is designed with sustainability in mind.

  • Sustainable overall concept
  • Multi-stage life cycle
  • Use of cobalt-free cell chemistry
  • Recycling rate of up to 95%
Striving for sustainability – the life cycle of our lithium-ion batteries

At Jungheinrich, lithium-ion batteries are the core components of electromobility and make an important contribution to the energy transition. However, sustainability can only be achieved if the entire life cycle of the lithium-ion batteries is designed to conserve resources. That's why Jungheinrich has developed a sustainable cycle – from careful material extraction and manufacture to a long service life and reprocessing through to a high level of recovery of valuable raw materials. 

Graphic - Life cycle of lithium-ion batteries

1: Lithium-ion battery manufacturing process
2: Maturation process in stationary storage (storage under construction/use in planning) 
3: Use in a new truck (Stage 1 of life cycle)
4: Refurbishment process
5: Use in a used truck (Stage 2 of life cycle)
6: Refurbishment process
7: Use in stationary storage (storage under construction/use in planning - Stage 3 of life cycle) 
8: Dismantling process 
9: Recycling process

Manufacturing of our lithium-ion battery

For Jungheinrich, sustainability begins with the development and production of lithium-ion batteries. During these phases, we follow our eco-design criteria, which take into account the entire life cycle of a product and reduce the environmental impact. We therefore dispense with critical raw materials such as cobalt in our lithium-ion batteries and instead use lithium-iron phosphate cells (LFP). In addition, our lithium-ion batteries are intrinsically safe: The cell chemistry of the LFP cells, in conjunction with additional safety measures, prevents the battery from catching fire.

Maturation process in stationary storage

An important step in the manufacture of a lithium-ion battery is maturation. In the future, Jungheinrich plans to allow the lithium-ion battery to mature briefly in a stationary energy store. As a result, previous CO2 emissions could be offset at a very early stage. A suitable storage facility is currently under construction at Jungheinrich.

Stage 1 of life cycle: Use in a new truck

To increase sustainability, the lithium-ion batteries at Jungheinrich go through up to three different stages in their life cycle. First, they will be used in our new trucks. Lithium-ion batteries reducethe carbon footprint by 20% and improve energy efficiency by up to 20% compared with industrial trucks with lead-acid batteries. 

Stage 2 of life cycle: Use in a used truck

After being used in a new truck, the life cycle of the lithium-ion battery is far from over. Once the battery has been recovered, we carry out a professional refurbishment. In the future, we want to use analysis tools that evaluate and sort used cells with the help of artificial intelligence. As a result, the lithium-ion batteries can be utilised again in used trucks (2nd stage of the life cycle), and later in stationary storage (3rd stage of the life cycle).

Stage 3 of life cycle: Use in stationary storage

The 3rd stage of the life cycle takes place outside of the industrial truck: If the battery capacity is less than 70 to 80%, it no longer makes sense to use the battery in an industrial truck. However, the battery can still be employed as a stationary storage unit for a few more years. As the use of renewable energy increases, stationary storage will continue to play an increasingly important role in the coming years to compensate for fluctuations in the power supply.

Dismantling and recycling

If the lithium-ion battery is no longer suitable for use in stationary storage, we are then responsible for dismantling and recycling the battery. Our aim is that 95% of the valuable cell materials such as lithium, copper and aluminium can be reused and returned to the cycle. Some of these substances can be used for the production of new lithium-ion cells. This approach contributes to the sustainable and responsible use of natural resources.

"We are promoting the circular economy – ultimately our focus is on the energy transition, the climate and our environment."

As a pioneer in li-ion technology we have been developing this technology intensively.

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