Atomic & Molecular Recycling

As I was driving back to work after lunch today, I found myself at a red light behind a Coca Cola truck with the words “Hybrid Electric” on the back. To me, “hybrid” equates to “batteries” and batteries evoke the question, “what will we do with all of them when they wear out in 10 years?”

And the logic follows for a lot of other alternative options. What will we do with those discarded products? Are they a better outcome or problem than the “evils” they address?

Maybe we’re thinking too big, though. I don’t have a clue what to do with a used lithium ion battery when all those Priuses use them up. But what makes up a lithium ion battery? What are the atomic and molecular building blocks that create or come from our energy sources? Can we find (or form) industries that can positively use the elements within our waste?

I’m asking. Really, I am. I’m a computer engineer, not a chemist, physicist, or scientist. The questions and idea might simply be crazy. But maybe it’s not. What do you think?

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