Glencore has entered into a battery recycling joint venture with its strategic partner Britishvolt to develop a battery recycling ecosystem in the UK. This ecosystem will be anchored in a new recycling plant located within the operations of Britannia Refined Metals (BRM, located in Northfleet), a Glencore company. BRM will continue its current production and marketing operations.
The project sees a return to recycling for BRM, securing existing jobs and creating new ones. When completed, the plant will be Glencore and Britishvolt’s first battery recycling facility in the UK with an expected processing capacity of at least 10,000 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries per year, including but not including s limit, valuable waste from battery manufacturing, batteries from portable electronic devices, and complete EV packs. The facility will process all of Britishvolt’s battery manufacturing waste from their Blyth factory.
The facility is expected to be operational by mid-2023 with the long-term goal of being powered by 100% renewable energy. The partnership will also seek to develop other recycling activities such as the refining of black mass into battery-grade raw materials.
The joint venture will leverage Glencore’s experience in recycling end-of-life materials such as scrap electronics, copper/alloy scrap and black mass. Both companies believe that battery recycling will be a key part of the energy transition. The goal is to help support the creation of a circular economy that puts recycled materials and minerals back into the battery supply chain.
“We are delighted to deepen our partnership with Britishvolt,” said David Brocas, chief cobalt trader at Glencore. “The two companies are united in their ambition to promote the energy transition and mobility. Glencore has decades of experience in recycling across multiple disciplines (e-waste/copper scrap/battery). This recycling partnership complements our long-term supply agreement for responsible cobalt from our operations in Norway and the Democratic Republic of Congo. We believe the opportunity to use BRM’s operations as a state-of-the-art battery recycling facility will help support the development of a UK battery recycling industry. It will also play a role in promoting climate change in the UK. ambitions as well as those of Glencore as we strive to achieve total net zero emissions by 2050.”
“This exciting project adds significantly to our existing relationship with Glencore who supply Britishvolt with responsibly sourced cobalt,” said Timon Orlob, Chief Operating Officer of Britishvolt. “Recycling is key to a successful energy transition and has always been a major part of Britishvolt’s business model. We were looking for the perfect partner to help launch a UK battery recycling industry and FTSE 100 listed company Glencore, has a long history of expert recycling. This joint venture will help us both create a truly sustainable battery value chain, create jobs and develop new battery recycling technologies. Britishvolt and Glencore are fully committed to committed to reducing carbon emissions throughout the supply chain.
The partnership also aims to research how to make recycling electric vehicle batteries easier and more cost-effective, maximizing the value of their supply chain and influencing legislation, including strengthening recycling regulations and ESG requirements.
The partnership will also allow Britishvolt to help its OEM customers on their journey to sustainability, by providing opportunities to hedge against fluctuations in commodity prices.
The Britishvolt plant will re-use a site that previously housed the UK’s largest coal-fired power station.
According to the Faraday Institution, although large quantities of lithium-ion batteries will be available for recycling from around 2028, there are currently no significant recycling facilities in the UK. Many UK manufacturers currently export used batteries to European facilities for recycling. Greenpeace data also suggests that around 12.85 million tons of lithium-ion EV batteries will go offline between 2021 and 2030. End-of-life EV batteries will become a valuable part of the battery supply chain.