UKRI to fund lithium battery recovery project

The Materials Processing Institute has been awarded funding by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to develop techniques to recover lithium and graphite from used electric (EV) batteries.

Materials Processing InstituteThe £60,000 project has been awarded as part of Innovate UK’s Sustainable Innovation Fund.

Innovate UK is part of UKRI and is investing up to £191 million to fund single and collaborative research and development projects as part of the Sustainable Innovation Fund over the next two years.

“In these difficult times we have seen the best of British business innovation,” said Innovate UK Executive Chair Dr Ian Campbell.

“This lithium battery recovery project, along with every initiative Innovate UK has supported through this fund, is an important step forward in driving sustainable economic development.”

It is anticipated that the project will help support the commercialisation of technologies for the recovery of lithium, graphite and other valuable materials from end of life vehicle batteries.

The ability to recycle lithium and graphite would secure availability and limit the environmental impact of extracting finite raw materials and reduce production costs, which would make EV batteries more affordable.

The demand for EV batteries is likely to increase in light of the government’s announcement of a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030.

It is estimated there will be a million electric vehicles on the UK’s roads within the next four years.

The Materials Processing Institute will deliver the project in conjunction with Inprotec Ltd, Cornish Lithium Ltd and Waste Care Ltd.

Andrew Buchanan, the Institute’s Circular Economy Group Manager, said: “As the demand for lithium and other critical materials grows, it’s great to see that the Institute and our partners are leading the drive towards greater resource efficiency in the zero-carbon economy.”