More batteries, less waste: helping the industry’s transition to a circular battery metals value chain

The automotive industry is experiencing significant change. Stricter CO2 emissions targets are leading automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to introduce more plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs). At the same time, OEMs are faced with tougher recycling mandates. This in turn is sparking the development of reverse logistics networks and efficient recycling chains to process growing volumes of spent EV batteries and manufacturing battery scrap. Tomorrow’s demand for battery metals is unlikely to be met by primary mining alone, and traditional recycling also presents challenges. High in cost and polluting by nature, traditional recycling fails to yield the high-grade metals required for EV batteries. For these reasons, the automotive industry is looking for a new solution. A circular solution.

 

Creating a closed loop for end-of-life battery metals together with our partners

This spans from the collection of spent batteries to the reuse of extracted materials for the production of new EV batteries. Our partnership with Veolia and discussions with a leading automotive OEM are focused on creating a circular economy consortium to tackle end-of-life Li-Ion EV batteries, in line with our ambitions as a partner to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

 

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Press Release: Solvay and Veolia partner to renew the life cycle for electric car batteries 

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A major actor in waste management, Veolia brings to the consortium its technical expertise in recycling electric vehicle batteries. Its role is to collect, transport, dismantle and mechanically process end-of-life batteries. Veolia is responsible for extracting value metals through a hydrometallurgical battery recycling process.

Solvay’s role is to enhance Veolia’s offer for recycling electric vehicle batteries. Our chemical refining process complements Veolia’s process to unlock the full metal value contained within spent batteries. Solvay is contributing decades of experience in hydrometallurgy flowsheets and CYANEX® metal extractants, which optimize the extraction and purification process. These contributions enable the hydrometallurgical battery recycling output to be converted into high-purity metal salts for new batteries – nickel, cobalt and lithium as sulfates or other forms required by cathode manufacturers.  

The marriage of this complementary knowledge enriches our collective ambition to reuse critical metals and set up an innovative, circular system. To that end, Solvay and Veolia plan to establish a facility to process feedstock to recycle electric vehicle batteries and manufacturing scrap from select OEMs.

Electric vehicles and the lithium-ion batteries that power them are critical to society’s transition to clean energy and the future of sustainable mobility. Solvay is excited to take this step in support of the market and enable transformation across the value chain.

Laurent Cohen
Global Marketing Manager, Mining Solutions group, Technology Solutions business unit

Establishing such partnerships is directly in line with Solvay's One Planet sustainability commitments. We aim to generate 15% of our revenue from either bio-based or recycled-based materials by 2030. Partnerships are key in helping Solvay and our collaborators  achieve mutual sustainability goals, moving from a linear model to a circular model to solve pressing environmental and societal challenges, such as resource scarcity.

 

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Hybrid and EV batteries recycling process