Battery recycling plant joins lithium ventures in Middlesbrough

Altilium Metals has announced plans to build a battery recycling plant for lithium batteries from electric vehicles (EVs). The preferred location for the site is near Middlesbrough and will be confirmed in early 2023. The company has received over £3 million in funding from the UK Government through BEIS’ Automotive Transformation Fund.

MiddlesbroughThe plant – where battery waste from over 150,000 EVs will be converted into cathode active material for new batteries – is being designed by engineering consultant Hatch. It will receive a mixed stream of feedstock, including spent batteries, gigafactory scrap and primary feedstock from Altilium Metals’ nickel and cobalt mines which are based in Indonesia.

Altilium Metals says that ‘having control of the primary feed in a sustainable way is a source of competitive advantage since other pure recyclers will struggle with the supply of feed in the near term for mega-scale recycling projects such as this’.

The Government announced on Monday (7 November) funding for the UK’s first large-scale merchant lithium refinery which will be built in Teesport, also in Middlesbrough. £600,000 will go to Green Lithium through the Automotive Transformation Fund.

The plant will provide battery-grade materials for use in the EV, renewable energy and consumer technology industries. 89 per cent of the world’s lithium is currently processed in East Asia and there are at present no lithium refineries in Europe. Green Lithium aims for the Teesside plant to be the first.

Business Secretary Grant Shapps said during the announcement in Middlesbrough on Monday (7 November): “We’re backing companies, like Green Lithium here in Teesside, to grow the new, green industries across the UK, sparking jobs and growth for decades to come.

“This is levelling up in action. The refinery will deliver more than 1,000 jobs during its construction and 250 long-term, high-skill jobs for local people when in operation.

“It is also allowing us to move quickly to secure our supply chains of critical minerals, as we know that geopolitical threats and global events beyond our control can severely impact the supply of key components that could delay the rollout of electric vehicles in the UK.”