Japanese companies launched a business of reclaiming nickel (Ni) included in used nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) as a material for batteries.

Toyota Motor Corp, Toyota Chemical Engineering Co Ltd, Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd and Primearth EV Energy Co Ltd (PEVE) made this announcement Oct 27, 2010. They are the world's first companies that have begun such a business, they said.

Thus far, outlet stores have collected the NiMH batteries of HEVs, and scraps including Ni have been recycled as a material for stainless steel through reduction treatment. This time, the four companies developed a technology to select and extract Ni so that Ni can be directly thrown in the smelting process. As a result, they realized a battery-to-battery recycling, which extracts Ni from the NiMH batteries of HEVs and returns it to NiMH batteries.

Toyota Motor built recycling facilities that can mass-produce materials with a high degree of accuracy in collaboration with Toyota Chemical Engineering. And it refines Ni for batteries with help from Sumitomo Metal Mining. As for the production of NiMH batteries for HEVs, Toyota obtained cooperation from PEVE to ensure a high quality.

To promote the collection of the NiMH batteries of HEVs, Toyota Motor will set up the "Toyota HV Reception Center." As for the transportation, it plans to reduce CO2 emissions and environmental load by utilizing trucks returning from parts supply. Toyota Motor also intends to deploy the new resources recycling system outside Japan.