Altilium Metals plans to develop an electric vehicle (EV) battery recycling plant on Teeside.
“Teeside offers the ideal location for a plant of this scale, with access to the UK’s largest Freeport, a highly skilled local workforce, local government support and a rich heritage in the field of chemical processing,” said the company.
The news came on the same day business secretary Grant Schapps announced the UK’s first large-scale lithium refinery was to be built in Teesdale, Middlesbrough. Green Lithium’s plant will provide 250 long-term jobs producing battery grade material.
Altilium acknowledged that the proximity to current and planned manufacturers of electric vehicles and batteries added to the area’s attraction.
Britishvolt’s plans for an EV battery manufacturing start-up in Northumberland were salvaged last week after the company revealed new investment had been secured following reports the Government had rejected requests for advanced funding.
Lithium-ion batteries – used in everything from mobile phones and laptops to vaping devices – are expected to become one the UK’s largest, and most hazardous, waste streams. Improper disposal of such batteries is already thought to contribute to around half of all waste fires in the UK each year.
Altilium’s battery recycling process sets new global standards, the company claims, extracting the lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese, recovering more than 95% of the critical metals.
The Government announced in June that Altilium was among companies to receive £43.7m of funding to support the scaling up of its battery-recycling technology.
It said the move supported the previous investment decision to develop a site capable of processing 10,000MT of end-of-life lithium-ion batteries, gigafactory scrap and electronic waste. This planned development would be the first of four to meet UK demand until 2050, it added.
The Teeside plant will be designed by engineering consultant Hatch, with an award from the Government’s Automotive Transformation Fund. It will receive mixed streams of feedstock including primary feed from Altilium’s Indonesian nickel and cobalt mines, the company explained.
“Having control of the primary feed in a sustainable way is a source of competitive advantage since other pure recyclers will struggle with the supply of feed in the near term for mega-scale recycling projects such as this,” said Altilium.
“We plan to recycle battery waste direct to CAM [cathode active materials] and introduce the active materials back into the supply chain for reuse in the most sustainable way with minimum processing steps, thus lowering the cost of batteries and their environmental impact.”
During his to Teeside yesterday, business secretary Schapps said the investment in such industries was an example of the Government’s ‘levelling up’ policy and would allow the UK to secure supply chains of critical minerals.