CALIBRE - Custom Automotive Lithium Ion Battery REcycling

Lead Participant: Johnson Matthey Plc


"Our vision is to create a safe, economically sustainable battery recycling supply chain in the UK allowing industrial batteries from vehicles to be recycled into base components and materials, which are subsequently reused. Ultimately, we seek to demonstrate a scalable process that will lead to the UK being the primary battery recycling hub in Europe. Our aim is to extract maximum value from battery packs at their end of life by repurposing the component materials. Not only will this result in less waste, it will also decrease the materials that need to be imported from abroad. Clearly, the automotive industry would be a primary user of this supply chain: project collaborator Nissan, one the major automotive OEMs, have a large EV fleet where vehicles approaching end of life. The objectives of the project are as follows: -

* Assess the performance of end of life packs and investigate the artificial ageing of new lithium batteries. Battery packs age to different extents during their lifetimes. It is unclear if the ageing process affects the recyclability of lithium cells. By artificially aging a selection of new lithium cells to replicate different conditions of use, we can assess the impact on recycling. The methodology to artificially age new packs to accurately replicate end of life conditions is innovative.
* The disassembly of lithium batteries down to base materials and components is not well understood. Furthermore, there are multiple routes for disaggregation, complicated by the number of design variations and number of chemistries available. This project seeks to establish a design- and chemistry-agnostic recycling methodology.
* The incumbent cell recycling methodologies are based on cobalt recovery. However, with manufacturers striving to decrease cobalt content in order to lower the cost of batteries at point of sale, the amount of recoverable cobalt is decreasing. We seek to establish an alternative recycling methodology capable of economically recovering more than the incumbent process, which can be demonstrated at pilot scale by Project Calibre
* An objective of the proposal is to reuse and upgrade the recovered materials in battery manufacture. This will be demonstrated at lab scale. The performance of the materials will be dependent on the methods of disassembly and recovery. The project seeks to feedback battery performance data to inform and optimise the disassembly and recovery processes."


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