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EMR and Johnson Matthey to set up UK battery recycling value chain


Johnson Matthey, the UK-based speciality chemical and material company, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with European Metal Recycling (EMR), one of the world’s largest material recyclers and a largest recycler of end-of-life vehicles in UK, to develop an efficient value chain in the UK for recycling lithium-ion batteries and cell manufacturing materials.


EMR operates the UK’s largest network of Authorized Treatment Facilities where vehicles are collected in 50 sites and recycled in compliance with strict environmental legislation. The company also says it is developing new collection and recycling processes for electric vehicles and their batteries.


Johnson Matthey which until recently was regarded as one of Europe's few homegrown cathode material producers until the company abruptly exited the business, is still developing processes to produce fully refined materials suitable for direct use in lithium-ion battery manufacturing. The company has contracted Oregon-based Onto Materials to help in the development of the process.


EMR has been one of the partners in the research project Recovas in which collection and recycling solutions has been designed in partnership with the car makers Bentley Motors, BMW and Jaguar Land Rover, the University of Warwick, the Health and Safety Executive, the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, Autocraft Solutions Group and second life specialist Connected Energy.


The announcement is one of many UK initiatives lately with different pre-processing plants starting to process lithium-ion batteries. Except for EMR, there have been announcements from RS Bruce Metals, the newly formed Recyclus Group, Veolia and ReCoNi which was awarded a 12 months contract for production scrap from Envision's plant in Sunderland. Moreover, Ecobat Logistics, formerly known under the name G&P Batteries, acquired the German pre-processor Promesa in 2021 and can therefore offer the same kind of solutions.


A similar agreement with Johnson Matthey was signed with Stena Recycling, which has its strongest presence in Germany, Poland and the Nordic countries.


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