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BASF starts up prototype battery-recycling facility at Schwarzheide site

| By Mary Bailey

BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany) has successfully started operating its prototype metal refinery for battery recycling in Schwarzheide, Germany. The state-of-the-art plant allows for the development of operational procedures and the optimization of innovative battery recycling technology, processing end-of-life lithium-ion batteries and battery production scrap. This will facilitate optimal recovery of valuable metals such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese and copper when scaling up the technology. The prototype metal refinery is another milestone in the construction of Europe’s first co-located center of battery materials production and battery recycling in Schwarzheide. It complements BASF’s existing cathode active materials plant and the battery recycling plant for the production of black mass, which is scheduled to start operations later this year.

Recognizing the strategic importance of securing a reliable supply of critical battery raw materials, BASF is committed to recovering valuable metals to increase the self-sufficiency of Europe and comply with the EU Battery Regulation. At the same time, battery recycling improves the sustainability of electric vehicles as recycled metals have a significantly lower carbon footprint.

“With the expected rapid growth of the electric vehicle market, battery recycling provides competitive and sustainable access to critical metals,” said Dr. Daniel Schönfelder, President of BASF’s Catalysts division, who is also responsible for the company’s battery materials and battery recycling business. “We will use the extracted metals to enable a truly local circular economy for the battery value chain.”

BASF is committed to further developing and scaling up its metal refining technology, with the goal of establishing a commercial-scale refinery in Europe in the next years. This will strengthen BASF’s footprint in Europe, complementing a strong collection network for end-of-life batteries and battery production scrap, black mass production as well as battery materials production to accelerate the transition to a circular electromobility in Europe and support the development of a sustainable battery materials ecosystem.