Altilium Metals has selected Teesside as the preferred location for what it says will be the largest planned recycling facility in the UK for end-of-life electric vehicle (EV) batteries.
The recycling plant will transform battery waste from 150,000 EVs a year, providing a secure and sustainable supply of the critical metals needed to support the growing production of EVs in the UK, Altilium Metals, a UK-based clean technology startup, says.
For Teesside, the start-up expects the proposed multi-million-pound investment to create 100 to 200 high-value jobs by 2025. Hundreds more jobs will be created during the construction, the organisation continues, during a projected 18-month build to get the plant up and running.
The significant volume of end-of-life batteries and scrap from giga-factories expected in the UK requires mega-scale recycling solutions.
Altilium Metals has secured over £3 million in Government Innovation awards to scale up its proprietary recycling technology to meet the demand for critical metals needed for the transition to net zero.
The “highly efficient” process, which is currently being piloted at the company’s recently opened UK Technology Centre, enables these metals to be recovered and supplied back into the EV battery supply chain, Altilium Metals says. It continues that this will lead to significant cost savings in EV battery production and lower carbon emissions compared to the mining of raw materials.
Altilium Metals says it is working closely with engineering consultants Hatch on plans for the plant, with the support of the UK Government’s Automotive Transformation Fund. A decision on the final location for the Teesside site will be made in early 2023 and Altilium’s ambition is to have two sites operational by 2030, supporting 400 new high-value jobs.
The start-up says a circular economy needs to be established for the second life of batteries to mitigate raw-material supply risks and bring energy security to the UK, optimise the battery carbon footprint and improve the economics of the battery recollection obligation for automotive manufacturers.
Lithium-ion batteries were regarded as hazardous waste, but they can serve as valuable sources of raw materials.
Commenting on the investment, Kamran Mahdavi, CEO, Altilium Metals, said: “We are excited to announce Teesside as the preferred location for Altilium Metal’s first UK recycling plant, as we scale up our technology to help meet the growing demand for critical metals and move towards a circular economy for the battery value chain.
“The significant volume of end-of-life batteries and scrap from giga-factories expected in the UK requires mega-scale recycling solutions and we look forward to demonstrating the process at scale here on Teesside.
“Until recently, lithium-ion batteries were regarded as hazardous waste, but they can serve as valuable sources of raw materials such as lithium, nickel and cobalt. Recycling or ‘urban mining’ will play an important role in making sure these valuable metals are returned to the supply chain in the most environmentally friendly way, rather than ending up as landfill waste.”