The lithium battery recycling sector claims to promote the circularity of electric mobility

The lithium battery recycling sector claims to promote the circularity of electric mobility
The lithium battery recycling sector claims to promote the circularity of electric mobility

Experts in battery recycling have pointed out in Madrid the challenge that the sector represents treatment of lithium batteries and the effort and resources that many companies are making to guarantee the existence of recycling solutions for this hazardous waste. Taking into account that the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan has as purpose reach 540,000 electric and plug-in vehicles by 2025.

During the III Circular Economy with Purpose Conference, organized in Madrid by the Circular Economy division of Ilunionthe future of lithium battery recycling was addressed, as support for the electric mobility model and after the approval of EU regulation 2023/1542, of July 12, relating to batteries and their waste.

The meeting was inaugurated by the commissioner for the Circular Economy of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Alejandro Dorado, who stated: “The Circular Economy is called to create new markets and new lines of business linked to eco-design, reuse, remanufacturing and recycling. Also to improve traceability or servitization. At least 70,000 new jobs will be created until 2030 in Spain. And the Circular Economy PERTE will be key to this, endowed with almost 500 million euros and a specific line for renewable energy equipment, among which are batteries,” he added.

Common regulatory framework

Representatives of companies and administrations analyzed the challenges and opportunities of recycling this equipment, “in addition to the need, on the one hand, to match the supply of recycled raw materials with the demand for them and, on the other hand, ensure a regulatory framework and common technical in all member states”, as noted by the general director of Ilunion Circular Economy, Pedro Antonio Martín.

“Lithium battery recycling It will guarantee both the sustainability of the electric mobility model and the generation of new jobs. It is encouraging to see all the effort and resources that are being put in by different private initiatives to promote this activity,” he noted.

Ilunion has opted for a finalist recycling solution for lithium batteries with technology LFP (lithium ferro phosphate) for being the most widespread among oriental manufacturers, whose products are achieving greater and greater penetration in the market. “Our process will not be limited to extracting the Black Mass to sell it to a third party, but we will go to its final processing, extracting the materials that compose it with sufficient purity to reintroduce them into the market and can be used to manufacture new batteries” Martin explained.

Ilunion’s lithium battery treatment plant will be located in the Boecillo Technology Park in Valladolid, will have treatment capacity of 6,000 tons of these batteries per year and will create between 30 and 40 jobs.

Towards a new sustainable energy model

For Toni Massot, head of Urbaser’s Novolitio project“the recycling of used lithium batteries, as well as the waste from their manufacturing, is a new environmental challenge that we must address as an essential link to achieve a transition towards a new energy model in order to make it sustainable.”

He stressed that the new mobility model associated with electric technology What we are promoting cannot be carried out “at the cost of depleting resources or displacing its environmental and social impact to other latitudes in which the population cannot defend itself against possible situations of abuse of power,” he added.

Therefore, as pointed out Raúl Yuste, Global Key Account Manager Battery Recycling at BASF, The battery recycling industry needs to grow significantly to achieve Europe’s ambitious net zero emissions targets and meet market demand. “It is important to establish the entire value chain in Europe to be fully competitive. To do this, we need to considerably increase capabilities in Europe, a strengthening of the regulatory framework and a stronger vision on sustainability as a true European differentiator,” he noted.

In his opinion, this is a critical moment for the industry. “When the financial risk is greatest, the European battery industry needs pragmatic, creative and urgent support. Therefore, we encourage policymakers to simplify the regulatory framework necessary for the industry and prioritize investment support to carry out large industrial projects. This will create a tangible business case for the industry, which is currently much stronger outside Europe,” he noted.

Anticipate the takeoff in electric vehicle sales

For María Jesús Kaifer, Technical and Development Director of FCC, The takeoff in sales of electric vehicles “has to be accompanied by the development of lithium battery recycling plants.” In this sense, he added, “FCC’s commitment to recycling the components of the energy transition is complete and covers all renewable energies. This path towards a true circular economy is part of the environmental axis of our 2050 Sustainability Strategy.” .

Circular Economy with purpose

In the second round table, cases of good business practices in Circular Economy, such as those presented by Nacho García-Valdecasas, Global Lead of Sustainability Shopping at Amazon; by Francisco Botía, general director of the Inserta Innovation Foundation; by Juan Meijide, general director of Insertega; and Raúl Espinosa, general director of SQRUPS. The meeting was closed by the Deputy Minister of Environment and Territorial Planning of Castilla y León, Rubén Rodríguez.

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