EU companies reinforce electric partnership
Britishvolt, Glencore bolster JV with recycling ecosystem in UK Metal Tech News – February 9, 2022
Last updated 7/12/2022 at 1:52pm
As part of ongoing efforts to create an electric ecosystem for the United Kingdom, battery manufacturer Britishvolt has partnered with Swedish commodity giant Glencore to develop an industry-leading battery recycling joint venture.
The partnership is intended to create a world-leading ecosystem for battery recycling in the UK and will be anchored at Britannia Refined Metals' – a Glencore company – future recycling plant in Northfleet.
This project sees a return to recycling for Britannia Metals, and, once complete, the plant will be Glencore and Britishvolt's first battery recycling facility in the UK with an expected processing capacity of a minimum of 10,000 metric tons of lithium-ion batteries per year.
"We are excited to deepen our partnership with Britishvolt. Both companies are united in their ambition to further the energy and mobility transition," said David Brocas, head cobalt trader at Glencore. "Glencore has decades of recycling experience across multiple disciplines. This recycling partnership complements our long-term supply agreement for responsible cobalt from our operations in Norway and the Democratic Republic of Congo."
The future facility will also include, but is not limited to, the capacity to process valuable battery manufacturing scrap, portable electronics batteries, as well as full electric vehicle packs. Furthermore, scrap from Britishvolt's battery gigafactory in Blyth will be recycled at the plant.
"We believe the opportunity to utilise BRM's operations as a cutting-edge battery recycling facility will help support the development of a UK battery recycling industry," Brocas added. "It will also play a part in furthering the UK's climate ambitions as well as Glencore's as we work towards net zero total emissions by 2050."
Current projections have the plant fully operational by mid-2023 with the long-term aim of being 100% powered by renewable energy. The partnership will also look to develop other recycling activities such as the refining of black mass – a powder that contains nickel, cobalt, copper, manganese, lithium, and graphite that is produced by crushing lithium-ion battery electrodes during the recycling process – into battery grade raw materials.
"This exciting project adds much to our existing relationship with Glencore supplying Britishvolt with responsibly-sourced cobalt," said Timon Orlob, global chief operating officer at Britishvolt. "Recycling is key to a successful energy transition and has always been a major part of Britishvolt's business model. We've been looking for the perfect partner to help kick start a UK battery recycling industry and FTSE 100-listed Glencore has expert historical experience in recycling."
The venture is planned to leverage Glencore's multi-decade recycling experience across end-of-life materials such as discarded electronics, copper and alloy scraps, and black mass. Both companies believe that efficiently recovering critical minerals through battery recycling will form a key part of the energy transition.
"This JV will help us both to create a truly sustainable battery value-chain, create jobs and develop new battery recycling technologies," said Orlob. "Both Britishvolt and Glencore are fully committed to reducing carbon across the supply chain."
The ultimate aim is to help support the creation of a genuine circular economy that supplies recycled materials and minerals back into the battery supply chain, the companies reported.
The partnership also aims to research how to make the recycling of EV batteries easier and more cost effective, maximizing their supply chain value and to influence legislation, including increasing regulation of recycling and ESG requirements.