UK-based Altilium is working with ABB to enhance its battery recycling operations ahead of a planned Teesside facility that could process waste from over 150,000 EVs per year.

Altilium

Altilium develops cathode and anode battery materials from waste streams such as lithium scrap and mine spoil. In 2022, the company opened its EV Battery Recycling Technology Centre in Devon, while it also operates a larger scale site in Eastern Europe - the European Solvent Extraction-Electrowinning (SX-EW) facility - that will be capable of recycling battery waste from over 24,000 vehicles annually.

Working with ABB, Altilium plans to scale up operations at SX-EW, integrating automation and electrification, as well as trialling digital technologies such as ABB’s Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) and Manufacturing Execution System (MES) at the plant. SX-EW is due to start processing waste in 2024.

Longer term, Altilium plans to incorporate ABB’s technology into its planned Teesside plant, due to open in 2026. According to Altilium, that facility could produce up to 20 per cent of the UK’s cathode active material (CAM) requirements, making it one of Europe’s largest battery recycling sites.

“Teaming up with ABB aligns perfectly with our commitment to redefine battery recycling for clean energy transportation,” said Altilium co-founder, Dr Christian Marston. “This is just the beginning of our journey toward closing the loop in battery manufacturing and decarbonising automotive supply chains.”

According to the World Economic Forum, demand for batteries is expected to increase 14-fold by 2030, driven largely by the adoption of electric vehicles. Sustainable supply chains for battery materials are therefore one of the biggest challenges presented by the EV transition.

ABB is already working with fellow Swedish firm Northvolt to electrify the latter’s Revolt Ett battery recycling facility, which is designed to process 125,000 tons of end-of-life batteries per year. Altilium’s Teesside plant will be on a slightly smaller scale, but is still predicted to produce around 30,000 metric tons of CAM per year.

“By combining our expertise in automated control systems, electrification and digital technology with Altilium's approach to battery recycling, we are well positioned to drive positive change in the EV industry,” said Staffan Sodergard, Global Product Line Manager for Battery Manufacturing, ABB. “This is an important agreement in the vital and growing field of battery recycling, where ABB continues to build expertise with ambitious battery industry customers and partners.”