Solvay and Veolia have announced a partnership on a circular economy consortium to offer new solutions that promise better resource efficiency for critical metals used in lithium ion electric vehicle (EV) batteries.
With the number of electric vehicles on the road expected to grow from 8 million in 2020 to 116 million by 2030, the partners state that ensuring stable access to raw materials is a strategic challenge. Furthermore, they claim materials used today in EV batteries are not always recovered at their maximum value.
Solvay and Veolia, through its subsidiary SARP Industries, say they are already actively engaged in discussions with a car manufacturer and battery cell producers, to coordinate, collaborate and leverage on respective technologies and core competences at each step of the value chain – from access and spent battery feedstock to dismantling, metal extraction and purification.
Solvay’s role in this consortium is to optimize the extraction and purification of critical metals such as cobalt, nickel and lithium and transform them into high-purity raw materials for new batteries, ready for another fresh start. Solvay is also present in the EV and hybrid battery value chain thanks to its high-performance specialty polymers for binders and separators and specialty additives for electrolytes.
“I am truly excited about our partnership with Veolia, aiming to take circularity another meaningful step forward towards cleaner mobility,” explained Solvay CEO Ilham Kadri. “At Solvay, our technologies will bring new life to batteries at the end of their cycle. Our unique know-how combining Specialty Polymers, Composites and Mining solutions together with Veolia’s unique experience in waste management, is a fantastic opportunity to build a greener battery ecosystem.”
In its recycling plant in eastern France, Veolia has already been dismantling batteries for electric vehicles since 2013. The combination of mechanical and hydrometallurgical processes makes it possible to treat the active cells and extract the active metals. These metals are then used by industry and transformed into new materials. Press Release 2
“The recycling of electric vehicle batteries and the management of the pollutants they contain are major ecological and industrial challenges. By partnering, Veolia and Solvay help develop the recycling value chain and the production of strategic raw materials for the production of new batteries. If today the essential compounds of batteries are mainly imported, tomorrow they will be regenerated in Europe”, said Antoine Frérot Chairman and CEO of Veolia.
Establishing this partnership is integral to Solvay Group’s sustainability ambitions and its Solvay One Planet commitments. By 2030, Solvay will generate 15% of its revenues from either bio-based or recycled-based materials.