The European Commission finances with more than 10 million euros a project to develop new technological processes for the recovery of critical raw materials contained in electric vehicle batteries, through the Horizon Europe programme. A consortium of 18 partners from seven countries will develop this project, known as BATRAW, which is of strategic importance for the EU in reducing its dependence on imports of these critical raw materials, as well as being able to guarantee a stable supply chain in view of the expected growth of the electric mobility market in Europe in the coming years.
The 4-year project is aligned with the objectives of the proposed EU Regulation on batteries and waste batteries. This regulation, now under discussion, would require all batteries placed on the EU market, including those for electric and hybrid vehicles to be managed in a sustainable manner at the end of their useful life and serve as a source of secondary raw materials for sectors such as the automotive and renewable energy and low-carbon technologies.
The BATRAW project includes two tests with electric vehicle batteries, but these can be extended, depending on the results, to other types of batteries, including domestic batteries, to recover all the metals and materials contained in them, i.e. cobalt, nickel, manganese, lithium, graphite, aluminium, and copper. Key information captured during the project will be made accessible to all stakeholders via a digital battery passport, stored on the Minespider blockchain. For further information see the IDTechEx report on The Li-ion Battery Supply Chain 2020-2030.
The first pilot will take place at Pamplona (Spain) and hosted by BeePlanet. It will apply semi-automated processes to the handling of these batteries to separate up to 95% of their components, including cells and modules suitable for reuse. The second pilot will be implemented at Bessines sur Gartempe (France) at the Orano facility. It will implement a mechanical pre-treatment and hydrometallurgical technology to improve the separation of the materials contained in the so-called black mass (a substance composed of non-ferrous metals resulting from the shredding of the batteries), to separate between 90%-98% of the graphite, aluminium, and copper.
The project, which kicked off on 1st May with the first consortium meeting, includes a first phase focused on the development of eco-design guidelines that favour the repair and dismantling of batteries, as well as best practices for the safe handling and transport of these wastes. The project will also create a prototype battery from the recovered raw materials and a digital battery passport to capture and communicate key information throughout the battery life-cycle, including the sourcing, processing, (re-)use and recycling of components. In a final phase, the partners will analyse the feasibility of a business plan for the EU-wide exploitation of these new battery dismantling and recycling processes. Policy recommendations based on the project's results to feed ongoing regulatory developments will also be produced.
A word from the coordination team of BATRAW: "We're excited to help guide such an important project that helps tackle this societal challenge. The macrotrend of increased battery use, particularly in the mobility sector represents a huge challenge in the push to create a more circular Europe. The EU has a great opportunity to become a global leader in battery dismantling and recycling."
The consortium lead by Acondicionamiento Tarrasense Asociación (Leitat) (Spain), also includes BeePlanet Factory (Spain), Centre for European Policy Studies (Belgium), Centro De Experimentación y Seguridad Vial Mapfre (Spain), Comanai (Spain), Commissariat a l energie atomique et aux energies alternatives (CEA) (France), Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. (Germany), Ford Otomotiv Sanayi (Turkey), Indumetal Recycling (Spain), Isle Utilities (The Netherlands), Minespider (Germany), MTB Manufacturing (France), Orano (France), POSCO Holdings (South Korea) Recyclia (Spain), Renault (France), Technische Universitaet Braunschweig (Germany) and Torrecid (Spain).
The BATRAW project has a total budget of 13,212,811 million euros of which 10,236,986 euros are financed by the European Commission in the Horizon Europe framework programme, the EU's main funding programme for research and innovation for 2021-2027.
Minespider's role in the project is focused around creating a Battery Passport on the blockchain and supporting the companies involved to manage data and collaborate better. It includes:
- Using Minespider's existing innovative blockchain-based software infrastructure to track, collect, assess, and share relevant data along battery supply chains and recycling loops efficiently, in a way that facilitates the collaboration of participants along the supply chain and that can balance the individual needs of confidentiality and transparency.
- Demonstrating a blockchain platform for raw materials, product, and supply chain tracking within the scope of ongoing EC efforts and legislations on supply chain transparency and Battery Passport.
Top image: Pixabay