With the growing market for electric vehicles generating a massive demand for recycling, Eramet, BASF, and Suez are cooperating on developing starting in January 2020 an advanced recycling concept for lithium-ion batteries over a two-year period. This will also include establishing an integrated industrial sector – from collecting end-of-life batteries all the way to manufacturing new electrode materials. At the same time, it will help to ensure Europe's supply of raw materials required for its energy transition. Moreover, the recycling process should meet the essential challenges of sustainable performance through its savings on raw materials.
EIT Raw Materials, the largest consortium in the raw materials sector worldwide, co-finances the ReLieVe project with 4.7 million Euros. It was initiated and funded by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union. Its mission is to enable sustainable competitiveness of the European minerals, metals and materials sector along the value chain by driving innovation, education and entrepreneurship.
Suez will take care for collecting and dismantling of end-of-life batteries; Eramet for developing the recycling process; and BASF for the manufacturing of cathode active materials. Academic researchers from Chimie ParisTech and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) will support the members to accelerate the search for solutions. The industrial members will also be backed by the automotive sector that will be part of the advisory committee.
The recovery of nickel, cobalt, manganese and lithium to form battery-ready products is the focus of the current developments of the Eramet Group. “The ReLieVe project responds to the European Commission’s appeal to unite European players to position itself in the fast-growing lithium-ion battery market”, commented Laurent Joncourt, Chairman of Eramet Ideas, the Group’s R&D Center. “Thanks to this funding, the ReLieVe project will be able to accelerate its work and progress towards the construction of a lithium-ion battery recycling sector with an innovative and competitive process on a European scale.”
“As a leading cathode active material supplier to battery producers for electrified vehicles, BASF is confident that recycling will play an increasingly important role in the roll-out of electromobility,” said Daniel Schönfelder, Vice President of Business Management, BASF Battery Materials Europe. “We are committed to foster an innovative, sustainable and competitive battery value chain in Europe together with partners and will contribute our expertise in cathode material production to the project.”
“We are proud to bring our expertise and contribute to the recovery of end-of-life battery components through this partnership. Around 50,000 tons of batteries are expected to be recycled by 2027 in Europe and it could be multiplied almost tenfold by 2035. With the ReLieVe project, Suez is supporting the development of alternatives approaches that blend circular solutions with sustainable urban mobility”, added Jean-Marc Boursier, COO of Suez and Senior Executive VP Group in charge of Northern Europe and IWS Europe.