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Project BATRAW: Recovering Raw Materials from Electric Vehicle (EV) Batteries

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The Horizon Europe funded BATRAW project has been launched to create new raw material processing from used electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

The four-year project, which has its roots in reducing Europe’s dependence on mostly imported critical raw materials and establishing supply chains to meet the expected future demand for EV batteries, should lead to improved recycling of batteries and the more sustainable use of materials.

Under the proposed EU battery regulation, all batteries placed on the EU market, including those for electric vehicles, are expected 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 automotives, renewable energy and low carbon technologies.

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The BATRAW project is being undertaken by a consortium of 18 partners from seven countries, led by the Barcelona-based Acondicionamiento Tarrasense Asociación (Leitat) and is funded with €10.2 million (US$10.4 million) from the Horizon Europe programme.

The project will comprise two demonstrators with EV batteries, with the possibility to extend them to other battery types, to recover the metals and materials within them, including cobalt, nickel, manganese, lithium, graphite, aluminium and copper.

The first, which will be hosted by second life battery manufacturer BeePlanet in Pamplona, Spain, will utilise semi-automated processes for the dismantling of the battery packs to separate up to 95% of their components and separate waste streams, including cells and modules suitable for reuse.

The second, which will be sited at nuclear energy company Orano’s facility at Bessines sur Gartempe in western France, will implement a mechanical pre-treatment and hydrometallurgical recycling technology to improve the separation of the materials contained in the so-called ‘black mass’ – the substance composed of non-ferrous metals resulting from the shredding of the batteries – to separate up to 98% of the graphite, aluminium, copper and manganese.

The project, which kicked off on 1 May with the first consortium meeting, includes a first phase focused on the development of eco-design guidelines for 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

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 on the safe transport and handling of battery waste also will be produced to feed into ongoing regulatory developments.

“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,” comments Adam Dicken, engineer and international project manager at Leitat’s Technological Centre.

Battery passport

A key component of the project will be the development of a battery passport on the blockchain, comprised of information captured for access by the stakeholders.

“The need for a battery passport comes out of the proposed EU battery regulation. As the need for products to be sourced and manufactured in a sustainable way has been emphasised, the battery passport was put forward as a proposed way of communication,” explains Ella Cullen, co-founder and CMO of supply chain blockchain developer Minespider, which is leading its development.

She comments that the passport will include data sets from inception through the full battery life cycle of use to end-of-life, with the aim to provide a better understanding of the market and environmental effects, as well as to support the material sourcing and circularity within the battery value chain.

As part of its role Minespider will work with the other participants to track and identify the necessary data sets, which are likely to include details such as mineral components and their sourcing, ESG data, carbon footprint, recycled content, performance and durability parameters, etc., as well as ways to share and communicate these data using the company’s blockchain infrastructure and in the light of the upcoming battery regulation.

“The idea is to provide better and more precise input for the next supply chain player and build a good basis to act upon once it reaches its end of life. This will save significant time and create extra efficiencies in the supply chain.”

Looking further ahead, she says the battery passport should provide a basis for comparison and benchmarks in the sector, as well as supporting more informed decision making and bringing more efficiency within production, repair and reuse through the creation of a high-performing, responsible battery value chain.

“The battery passport should enable a transparent way to share information.”

 

Source: Smart Energy International

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