Veolia is planning to open its first electric vehicle battery recycling facility in the UK.
The plant in Minworth, West Midlands is the first step in developing its recycling technology and treatment capacity within the UK, with an anticipated 350,000 tonnes of end of life electric vehicle batteries predicted to be in the country by 2040. The plant will have the capacity to process 20% of the UK’s end of life electric vehicle batteries by 2024.
Many of the materials required for battery manufacturing such as lithium rely on traditional water and energy intensive processes in mainstream mining. It is estimated that 500,000 gallons of water is required to extract one tonne of lithium using this type of mining. Using recycled materials, which Veolia calls ‘Urban mining’, could reduce water consumption as well as cutting greenhouse gas emissions from battery production by up to half.
The plant will initially discharge and dismantle batteries before the mechanical and chemical separation recycling processes will be completed. Veolia also plans to use its global network to establish a full circular economy solution in the next five years to produce battery precursors in Europe.
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“This is an important first step on the UK’s journey to create an ethical and sustainable supply chain for batteries that will be increasingly necessary as we transition to a greener economy,” said Gavin Graveson, senior executive vice president for northern Europe for Veolia.
Urban mining is essential if we are to protect raw materials and will in turn create a new, high-skilled industry. “We will not reach carbon neutrality without increasing our investment and development of new technologies and recycling opportunities. As the demand for electric vehicles increases, we will need this facility – and more like it in the UK – to ensure we don’t hit a resource crisis in the next decade,” he said.
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