The second-life-battery specialist company BeePlanet will build a plant for the reuse and recycling of EV batteries in partnership with South Korean recycler Sungeel Hitech in Caparroso, Navarra, Spain. The plant which is set to start production in 2025 will have a built on a 31,000m2 estate and will have the capacity to recycle 10,000 tonnes of batteries to black mass.
The investment in the project amounts to €18.5M and is expected to give work opportunities to 60-70 people. Besides BeePlanet and Sungeel Hitech investors include the industrial waste company Medenasa, Truck&Wheel-Group a tier 1 automotive supplier and transportation company, Sodena which provides financial support for businesses establishing in Navarra and Samsung C&T, an investment company within the Samsung group.
Bee Planet is a company that makes both residential and C&I ESS based on second life batteries. The company initially used batteries from Nissan Leaf but are today working with several OEMs. In 2022 the company deployed 7.5MWh of ESS capacity which is exepted to double in 2023 as the company is about to secure a pipeline of 20 MWh of second life batteries.
Sungeel is one of the world's largest battery recyclers with two material recovery plants in South Korea and preprocessing plants in six countries with plans for plants in additional three. The company is already the largest pre-processor in Europe with a combined infeed capacity of 32,000 tonnes in Hungary and Poland of which 7,000 tonnes is capacity operated for a joint venture of Huyaou Cobalt and POSCO. Another 20,000 tonnes of capacity is planned for Germany in a project which has been signficantly been delayed due to permitting.
The partnership is a model Circular Energy Storage has proposed for many years. With a reuse interface for recycling the joint operation which will go under the name BeeCycle will be able to source batteries for both reuse and recycling. They can take bigger risks when acquiring larger volumes of untested batteries and they will be able to pay more for these volumes.
The investment in pre-processing in Caparroso is the fourth big announcement of pre-processing on the Iberian peninsula in less than a year. The Malysian/Chinese company EcoNiLi which is working closely with the fastgrowing Chinese recyler Ruicycle, announced a 45,000 tonnes facility in Alicante in November 2022. In April the mining and metal trading company Glencore which is one of the the largest recyclers of lithium-ion batteries in Europe and North America today annonced a partnership with Iberdrola to set up a pre-processing plant either in Spain or Portugal and in the same month Portuguese energy company announced a partnership with E-waste and battery reycling company TES to set up a pre-processing plant in on the Iberiean peninsula. With previous announcements the total capacity in Spain and Portugal could in 2026 exceed 60,000 tonnes.