EMR Metals Recycling is leading a project that seeks to create a new circular end-of-life supply chain for electric vehicle (EV) batteries with grant support from the U.K.’s Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC).
Recovas is a partnership among EMR; Bentley Motors; BMW; Jaguar Land Rover; the University of Warwick; the Health and Safety Executive; the U.K. Battery Industrialisation Centre; Autocraft Solutions Group; Connected Energy, which repurposes electric car batteries; and uRecycle, which will develop the U.K.’s first commercial-scale recycling facility for automotive battery packs.
This project aims to provide a standardized and reliable route for recycling and repurposing lithium-ion car batteries at a scale that can cope with the expected sales of electric vehicles in the U.K., EMR says. Under current EU law and also post-Brexit, EMR says manufacturers retain responsibility for the safe disposal of EV batteries. More than 164,000 electric vehicles already are on Britain’s roads, with that number forecasted to rise to 373,600 when plug-in hybrids are included.
The project begins January 2021 and will run for three years, by which time the partners expect the circular supply chain to be operating commercially, EMR says.
Remanufacturing is the process of repairing and re-engineering existing batteries for use in new cars. Reuse involves giving batteries a second life in stationary energy storage applications. The new supply chain will help all partners to triage batteries when they arrive at approved end-of-life vehicle treatment facilities across the U.K. for either remanufacturing, reuse or, where this is not possible, recycling, EMR says.
Roger Morton, managing director for technology and innovation at EMR, says, “Our aim is to create a circular supply chain for batteries and, in the process, reduce the cost for end-of-life disposal for the vehicle manufacturer or last owner of the car to zero. By working in partnership with the Recovas consortium, electric vehicle manufacturers will develop simple design changes that greatly improve the potential to remanufacture, reuse or recycle their batteries at end of life. This will help to transform the economics of the electric vehicle market.”
Ian Constance, chief executive at the APC, adds, “Recycling of electric vehicle batteries is a principal part of the electric supply chain, so it’s vital that we get it right. The investment in innovative projects like Recovas by EMR Metal Recycling, awarded as part of our APC 16 program, demonstrates the importance of creativity and engineering excellence in the U.K.’s bid for a sustainable and commercial net-zero future.”
EMR says developing and managing the infrastructure to process end-of-life EVs and their batteries will generate new economic activity for the U.K. and create more than 550 green jobs in the U.K. within the consortium members and their supply chain.
As part of the project, leading automotive manufacturers have agreed to share more information about the design and construction of their batteries, allowing the consortium to more effectively and efficiently repurpose or recycle them.
“We have a very strong electric vehicle industry in the U.K., and it is changing fast,” Morton says. “Recovas is an essential part of the sustainable roll-out of electric vehicles.”
“It is an essential initiative for the U.K. electric vehicle sector,” Professor David Greenwood, CEO of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, University of Warwick, says of Recovas.
The U.K. government is supporting Recovas as part of a 49 million-pound ($64.6 million) investment in technologies that will help the automotive industry to “go green.”
U.K. Minister for Business and Industry Nadhim Zahawi says, “Backed by government funding, these trailblazing projects will help the U.K. to build back better by creating all-important green jobs, ensuring the sector can make further strides towards an electrified automotive future.”