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LithoRec Recycles Lithium from Batteries Used in e-Vehicles

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LANGELSHEIM, Germany – To celebrate the opening of the worldwide first pilot plant for recycling lithium from battery packs used in e-vehicles, German Chemetall GmbH invited participants of the LithoRec-project at the Chemetall-Werk, Langelsheim facility.

Headquartered in Frankfurt Chemetall GmbH is operating an international network of approximately 40 subsidiaries and associated companies. Since 2004 Chemetall is part of Rockwood Holdings, Inc. based in the USA.

Chemetall provides products and processes for the chemical treatment of metal surfaces and synthetic materials as well as assorted areas of fine chemicals like lithium and cesium compounds.

Complete battery recycling
A major target of the LithoRec project is the development and industrial testing of recycling technologies for lithium-ion battery packs used in electric vehicles.

Next to the process of disassembly, material treatment and metallurgical utilization, Chemetall GmbH follows the complete life cycle of the recycled products; from the design of the battery packs to the production of new active materials (cathodes, conducting salts for electrolytes).

At the opening celebration it was obvious how important it is to brainstorm about the regeneration of lithium-ion battery packs being used in electric vehicles today. The Langelsheim facility is seen as a contribution to the recycling of lithium batteries and as part of an all-embracing recycling concept. Because electric vehicles are on the brink of a wider market introduction there are no national collecting systems or experiences in the recycling methods for lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles.

Fulfilling EU regulation
Previously known recycling schemes are all targeted at li-ion batteries for portable electronics. According to LithoRec they are aimed at the recycling of cobalt and neglect lithium. According to Chemetall, the new pilot facility offers for the first time, “a regulated recycling path fulfilling the approach of a 50 percent recycling efficiency according to the EU-regulation 66/2006”.

Further steps of the project are, “the analyses and development of collecting, returning and security concepts, the examination of re-use of battery components as well as the economical and ecological evaluation of recycling methods”.

The project’s ultimate goal is “to reach the highest efficiency in recycling and to establish a large-scale basis for the industrial utilization of lithium-ion batteries in Germany and Europe.”

Click here for more info on Chemetall’s LithoRec project.

by Jo Beckendorff last update:11 Jul 2012

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