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Samsung harnesses recycled phones for battery manufacturing

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 - 12:26:57

A battery-making subsidiary of South Korean tech giant Samsung is setting out to take advantage of mobile phone recycling to gather the resources it needs without having to put up with price fluctuations, according to Bloomberg.

In particular it is the cost of procuring cobalt that has prompted this change of strategy for the firm, since it wants to avoid being entirely dependent on supplies sourced from unstable regions of the globe.

The demand for batteries is on the rise not just because smartphones are so popular in their own right, but as a result of electric vehicles being developed by a growing number of major automakers. This means that Samsung cannot afford to be hit with any kind of hold-up in its supply chain.

In order to recover cobalt and other precious materials from old mobile phone batteries, Samsung is securing a share in an existing recycling firm, allowing it to compete with rivals that are also finding ways to gain access to a steady supply of this element.

With millions of mobile phones disposed of each year, there is a huge potential stream of unwanted batteries which such a project can tap into going forwards. And industry analysts believe that this is the best bet that Samsung or any other manufacturer has of overcoming some of the current complications that are impacting this marketplace.

Some experts expect that mobile recycling will become even more significant for the battery manufacturing industry over the next half-decade, as projected increases in the demand for electric cars, vans and trucks will put even more pressure on the supply of raw materials from Africa.

The Galaxy Note 7, which was recalled after battery issues, is thought to have generated 142 tonnes of cobalt alone for Samsung, so the potential has already been demonstrated.




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