Glencore has entered a battery recycling joint venture with strategic partner Britishvolt, the UK’s foremost investor in battery cell technologies and R&D. The joint venture will develop an ecosystem for battery recycling in the UK. This ecosystem will be anchored at a new recycling plant located at the Britannia Refined Metals operation (BRM-located in Northfleet), a Glencore company. BRM will continue with its current production and trading operations.
The project sees a return to recycling for BRM, securing existing jobs and creating new ones. 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 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries per year, including but not limited to valuable battery manufacturing scrap, portable electronics batteries and full EV packs.
The facility will process all Britishvolt’s battery manufacturing scrap from its Gigafactory in Blyth.
The facility is expected to be 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 into battery grade raw materials.
The JV will leverage Glencore’s multi-decade recycling experience across end of life materials such as discarded electronics, copper/alloy scraps and black mass. Both companies believe that battery recycling will form a key part of the energy transition, efficiently recovering the critical metals needed for the energy transition. The aim is to help support the creation of a circular economy that supplies recycled materials and minerals back into the battery supply chain.
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.
It will also allow Britishvolt to assist its OEM customers on their path to sustainability, by offering hedging opportunities against swings in raw materials prices.
According to the Faraday Institution although large amounts of lithium-ion battery packs will be available for recycling from around 2028, there are no substantial recycling facilities currently in the UK. Many UK manufacturers currently export used batteries to European facilities for recycling. Greenpeace data also suggests that around 12.85 million tons of EV lithium-ion batteries will go offline between 2021 and 2030.