Vehicle OEM Audi and recyclers Umicore have recovered 90% of the cobalt and nickel from the German car maker’s e-tron battery packs during the test phase of their strategic research project.
Audi and the Belgian materials technology and recycling firm will now enter the next phase of the plan to cooperate on a closed loop for cobalt and nickel materials.
The recovered materials will be used in new battery cells.
Umicore plans to recover cobalt and nickel from cell modules from the e-tron model, initially taken from development vehicles, and process them into precursor and cathode materials.
Dr. Bernd Martens, member of the board of management for Procurement and IT at Audi, said: “A closed loop for battery raw materials is a big leap technologically. It is our aim to think sustainability holistically. This includes dealing with the remaining ‘end of life’ as well as resource-saving development of our products.”
In November 2018, Audi and Umicore began exploring closed loop EV battery recycling model, reporting that “95% of valuable battery materials can be recycled”.
The previous month Umicore joined a technology consortium with the BMW Group and Swedish lithium-ion start-up Northvolt to develop a “complete and sustainable value chain for battery cells for EVs in Europe”.
Umicore’s path to securing a raw and recycled lithium-ion battery materials supply chain continued last month as it struck two deals in as many weeks.
Umicore completed the acquisition of the cobalt refining and cathode precursor activities in Kokkola, Finland in a deal with Freeport Cobalt– a joint venture between Freeport-McMoRan, Lundin Mining Corporation and La Gènèrale des Carrières et des Mines.