SMS group enters into the recycling of lithium batteries

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Neometals and SMS group have set up a joint venture for the recycling of lithium batteries and the recovery of valuable materials from spent batteries.

The 50/50 joint venture for the recycling of lithium-ion batteries (Libs) and commercialization of joint recycling technology will be known as Primobius GmbH. Valuable materials are to be recovered from vehicle batteries and storage batteries for electronic devices. Intensive R&D efforts paved the way for the creation of this joint venture and have resulted in a patent-pending process, which was successfully tested recently in a pilot project.

With Primobius, SMS group is pursuing its strategy of developing new business models as a systems supplier to enable sustainable value chains, among other objectives. The company’s contribution will be the engineering and construction of the commercial recycling facilities. Moreover, SMS intends to handle the operation and maintenance of the equipment. Project development company Neometals Ltd, based in West Perth, Australia, will contribute its technical and commercial expertise, including in recycling technology, to the joint venture.

Construction of a demonstration plant for battery recycling planned

The two companies had already signed a memorandum of understanding back in 2019, as part of which they not only completed the technical due diligence but also agreed a location in Europe for the future demonstration plant. Following positive appraisals, the MoU resulted in the creation of a joint venture company. The next steps planned by the joint venture are the construction and commissioning of the demonstration plant in Europe, the further development of the process technology, the financing (including from funding options for green technologies), and the conclusion of long-term supply and offtake agreements. The demonstration plant will allow potential customers to assess the materials recovered from their own or external end-of-life batteries.

Herbert Weissenbaeck, senior vice-president Strategic Project Development at SMS group, explains: “The SMS group looks forward to the next stage of its engagement with Neometals and to apply our metallurgical plant and engineering expertise to fast track commercialisation. SMS group sees compelling growth and opportunity in the sector. The timing is good to secure a foothold and build credibility with OEMs who value closing the loop in the battery value chain. There is a groundswell of global, and particularly European, support for sustainability and circular opportunities and this strengthens our commitment to Primobius.“

Battery recycling serves the trend towards e-mobility

Neometals’ managing director Chris Reed says: ‟We have a clear path to commercialize this Australian technology, developed by our technical team in Perth, to meet the needs of the burgeoning European lithium battery and EV makers. The entry of Primobius comes at a time marked by major confluence of regulatory initiatives to stimulate the electric vehicle sector to decarbonise transportation, secure battery material supply chains and support circular economies generally. Our recycling solution plays strongly to this theme by offering responsible recovery and ethical battery material supply to lower the carbon footprint of battery manufacturing and contribute generally to the sustainability of the lithium battery materials supply chain.”

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