Battery recycling demonstration plant completed

Primobius has initiated the commissioning phase for the hydrometallurgical refining circuits in its showcase lithium-ion battery (LIB) recycling demonstration plant at Hilchenbach, Germany.

The battery recycling joint venture between Australian Securities Exchange-listed Neometals and SMS group plans to recover all the LIB constituent materials with an efficient and environmentally friendly recycling solution that re-uses the products, including the generation of high-purity cathode chemicals for the battery supply chain.

The demonstration plant comprises a fully built shredding and beneficiation circuit (stage 1) and a hydrometallurgical refining circuit (stage 2). Stage 2 commissioning activities completed so far include water testing the entire leaching and solvent extraction circuits, leaching intermediate active materials (“black mass”) from stage 1, filtering the carbon anode residue, and commencing the first stage of solvent extraction (copper).

Commissioning of the remaining solvent extraction steps (to recover cobalt, lithium, nickel, and manganese) will follow soon.

The demonstration plant, which has undergone extensive pilot trialing, will showcase Primobius’ integrated recycling solution in a dedicated, ongoing campaign to reduce LIBs, which are donated by EV and stationary energy storage partners, to their constituent materials for re-use. Product outputs from the trial will be evaluated by potential customers and off-takers.

“The demonstration plant trial will provide an opportunity for car, consumer electronics and battery manufacturers to verify Primobius’ capability to safely, sustainably and ethically dispose of hazardous LIBs to comply with all regulatory obligations,” says Horst Krenn, CEO of Primobius. Perhaps most importantly, the demonstration plant will highlight an opportunity for partners to watch their spent batteries go into the process and a range of products come out at the other end for supply chain evaluation.

The integrated trials are expected to start in October 2021 and finish by the end of November 2021. Thereafter, the demonstration plant will be modified and sections moved to meet the requirements of the 10-tpd shredder plant, which is due to offer commercial LIB recycling services from Q1 2022.

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