The German specialty chemical company BASF which is expanding its capacity in lithium-ion battery cathode materials announced the 29th of June that they will establish a recycling facility adjacent to their cathode production plant in Schwarzheide in Germany.
The facility which won't include any pre-processing is described as a"prototype" through which the company will qualify the process to recycle end-of-life batteries and production scrap and use nickel, manganese, cobalt and lithium for making new cathode material. While the company has declined to state the precise capacity our estimate is around 2-5,000 tonnes of battery materials, equivalent to 6,000 – 15,000 tonnes waste battery cells. The plant is said to generate 35 jobs. Commissioning is expected early 2023.
The investment is part of the “Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI)” approved by the European Commission on December 9, 2019, under the European Union State aid rules. The launch of innovative battery materials from the Schwarzheide plant and research to develop next-generation battery materials and process development, including battery recycling, is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy
According to BASF the investment in plant does not affect their work with external players such as Fortum and Eramet which indicate the company is looking for a multichannel strategy for the sourcing of battery materials or that their own process will further refine material already recovered by their recycling partners.