Veolia will open a UK electric car battery recycling facility that could process up to 20 per cent of the country’s end-of-life EV batteries by 2024.
The French firm will build a new facility in Minworth, West Midlands, where batteries will be discharged and dismantled before the mechanical and chemical separation process will be completed.
Gavin Graveson, Veolia senior executive vice-president, Northern Europe, said: “This is an important first step on the UK’s journey to create an ethical and sustainable supply chain for batteries that will be increasingly necessary as we transition to a greener economy.
“We will not reach carbon neutrality without increasing our investment and development of new technologies and recycling opportunities. As the demand for electric vehicles increases, we will need this facility – and more like it in the UK – to ensure we don’t hit a resource crisis in the next decade.”
Veolia predicts that 350,000 tonnes of end-of-life electric vehicle batteries could be in the UK by 2040, meaning that a recycling system for them is paramount. Veolia also believes that ‘urban mining’ – when precious metals are recovered from recycled materials – is a key part of sustainable battery production.
Graveson added: “Alongside other projects across the globe, bringing Veolia’s expertise to the UK recognises the size of the national market and appetite to recycle locally and responsibly. Urban mining is essential if we are to protect raw materials and will in turn create a new, high-skilled industry.”
Given that 500,000 gallons of water are required to extract one tonne of lithium – a crucial component in battery production – Veolia believes that urban mining could help reduce water consumption while also reducing the greenhouse gases emitting during battery production by up to 50 per cent.