The German recycling business Accurec claims to have found a method for recovering lithium from obsolete batteries. The Krefeld-based firm would be the first in Europe to recycle lithium on a large scale.
According to the German publication Handelsblatt, the medium-sized company’s facility will open in the spring. Umicore and BASF are also planning lithium recovery factories in Europe, although they are still several stages away from completion.
With lithium being a finite resource its long term availability has been cause for concern; nevertheless, this breakthrough provides a solution to an issue that might potentially halt the advancement of battery technology.
Accurec, which was created in 1996, is in the midst of realigning its “entire process technology chain.” The company’s management is now concentrating on lithium recovery. To do this, the business employs a hydrometallurgical technique to recover lithium from spent batteries from electric vehicles, e-bikes, electronic gadgets, and standard home batteries. Until additional batteries from electric vehicles are available for recycling, the business says it will concentrate on other types of batteries, particularly domestic batteries.
The plant will be able to recover lithium from 4,000 tonnes of scrap batteries per year. Accurec says that it can presently recover 50% of the lithium found in batteries. This percentage is expected to rise to 80% in the future.
According to the business, the quality of the recycled lithium is “between 98 and 99 percent.” According to Accurec’s managing director Reiner Sojka, the degree of purity would have to be improved somewhat before it could be utilised in a battery again.