Companies agree circular solution for EV battery recycling in the UK

Johnson Matthey has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with European Metal Recycling (EMR) to develop an efficient value chain in the UK for recycling lithium-ion batteries and cell manufacturing materials.

Recycling the batteries from end-of-life electric vehicles will produce significant quantities of strategic materials such as lithium, nickel and cobalt with a fraction of the carbon footprint of the same materials from mined sources.

Decarbonising transportation is a critical step in helping societies and industries meet their ambitious net zero emission targets to tackle the climate crisis. Battery electric vehicles for light-duty transport are a key solution. The challenge is recovering the critical materials from the batteries at end-of-life without harming the environment.

EMR operates the UK’s largest network of Authorized Treatment Facilities where vehicles are collected in 50 sites and recycled in compliance with strict environmental legislation. EMR is developing new, collection and recycling processes for electric vehicles and their batteries, to recover intermediate materials containing the strategic battery metals for further processing and where possible, closed loop return of materials.

Johnson Matthey is developing additional processes to produce fully refined materials suitable for direct use in lithium-ion battery manufacturing, increasing the recycled content of new batteries. The full closed loop recycling service that Johnson Matthey and EMR will develop together will help to deliver the future resource security and carbon-reduction aspirations of battery producers and vehicle manufacturers.

Jane Toogood, Chief Executive of Johnson Matthey’s Efficient Natural Resources Sector, said: “We are excited to partner with EMR in delivering an efficient battery refining solution to the UK market. Embedding circularity into this growing industry is essential if it is to become a truly sustainable solution. Battery recycling perfectly complements JM’s core expertise in the refining of strategic metals, strengthening our position in developing a sustainable and circular battery value chain.”

Roger Morton, Managing Director for Innovation and Technology at EMR added: “EMR is making major investments in the battery recycling supply chain. We are providing quality solutions right now for end-of-life battery materials and we are innovating to deliver higher material recovery rates in future. We look forward to working with Johnson Matthey. The novel technologies they are developing will deliver high yields of recovered battery precursor materials, ready for use back in lithium-ion battery manufacturing.”

Image: Shutterstock.

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