BASF to Build Battery Recycling Plant at Schwarzheide

23.06.2022 - German chemical giant BASF has announced it will build a commercial scale battery recycling black mass plant in at its Schwarzheide, Germany, site, strengthening the location’s activities in production and recycling of cathode active materials (CAM).

Startup is planned for early 2024, and the project will add some 30 new production jobs.

The Ludwigshafen-headquartered group said the eastern German site is ideal for the build-up of battery recycling activities, due to the presence of many electric vehicle (EV) car manufacturers and cell producers in neighboring Central Europe. The plant will have annual processing capacity of 15,000 t/y of EV batteries and production scrap, and BASF said it will close the loop from end-of-life batteries to CAM for new batteries, enabling a circular economy and a reduced CO2 footprint.

Black mass production is the first step in the battery recycling process and involves mechanical treatment of the batteries. Large amounts of the key metals used to produce CAM, namely lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese, can be obtained from the mass and will be used as feedstock for a commercial hydrometallurgical refinery for battery recycling that BASF intends to build by the the middle of the current decade.

With this investment in a commercial scale battery recycling black mass plant, Peter Schuhmacher, president of BASF’s Catalysts division, said the German group is taking the next step to establish the full battery recycling value chain as part of its competence.  

The new facility will allow BASF to optimize the end-to-end recycling process and reduce the CO2 footprint,” Schuhmacher said, adding that the closed loop from end-of-life batteries to CAM for new batteries supports customers along the entire battery value chain, reduces dependence on mined raw materials and enables a circular economy.

BASF stressed that battery recycling is an important lever to reduce the CO2 footprint of electric vehicles and is key to meeting the ambitious policy requirements expected under the proposed EU Battery Regulation. These will cover recycling efficiency of lithium-ion batteries, as well as material recovery and recycled content targets for nickel, cobalt and lithium.

Earlier this month, BASF Shanshan Battery Materials (BSBM), a 51:49 joint venture of the German chemical group with China’s Hunan Shanshan Energy, announced plans to expand its battery materials capacity in China’s Changsha, Hunan Province and Shuizuishan, Ningxia Province, to meet the fast-growing local and global demands of the electric vehicle industry.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist



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