As part of the 24-month partnership Luton-based LBRS will provide Stockholm, Sweden-based Voi with ADR-approved packaging to place its end-of-life lithium-ion batteries for safe storage and collection from its seven warehouses across the UK.
The batteries will be dismantled at LBRS by specialists who will extract and fully recycle all valuable elements, such as copper, aluminium, lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese, for new products.
Jack Samler, general manager of Voi UK and Ireland, said LBRS will play an important role in achieving Voi’s environmental ambitions by turning end-of-life batteries into an active resource.
Over the past 10 years LBRS, a Cawleys Group company, has become subject experts in the logistics, handling and decommissioning of waste lithium-ion battery packs.
Alan Colledge, LBRS technical director, explained that VOI’s batteries are well put together using a hard outer casing and utilising a polyurethane foam cushion to protect and weatherproof the cells. This, he said via email, presents a challenge as the extra materials involved can contaminate the black mass fraction recovered from the battery.
Colledge added that recycling lithium batteries is currently a cost and that LBRS will be one of the first battery recyclers to start a value chain with the battery materials in Britain.
“Although case metals are easily done the blackmass, which is up to 56 per cent of the battery, requires a hydrometallurgical treatment which we do not have in the UK currently. LBRS has signed MOU’s with companies that are now working toward this and would be the first in the UK to operate a plant.”
Additional volumes will see growth in the LBRS division, leading to business development and engineering roles.