Daimler is considering building a research facility for battery recycling on the site of the Daimler press plant in Kuppenheim, Germany, according to media reports. Daimler is also looking for a location for a later regular operation.
++ This article has been updated. Kindly find all updates below. ++
Michael Brecht, head of the works council, told the local German newspaper Badisches Tagblatt that the first step would be to set up a research facility that could be funded by the federal government. Here, the focus will be on how batteries can be dismantled in order to recover as many raw materials as possible. Brecht made no further comments on the location.
According to the local German newspaper, there are increasing indications that the research facility is to be built on the site of the pressing plant in Kuppenheim because of the urgency of the matter and because land and building rights are already available there. According to the newspaper report, the company wanted to be further along with the planning, but the restructuring put the brakes on the project.
The discussion apparently also revolved around whether to build a possible battery factory on a green area, since the area has already been examined by a specialist office. Neighbours and environmentalists oppose industrial construction here – which is why the company apparently prefers the pilot plant on its own premises for the time being.
Daimler is not the only car company with plans for a recycling plant. VW subsidiary Volkswagen Group Components opened its pilot plant in Salzgitter at the end of January. There, too, the processes for dismantling batteries and recovering raw materials are to be optimised first, before recycling capacities are to be scaled up.
Update 09 March 2021: A Daimler spokesperson has confirmed the principle of the project when asked by German newspaper Badische Neueste Nachrichten: “In line with the Group’s sustainability strategy, we have agreed together with the works council to enter the battery downstream business at the Gaggenau site in the future, for example with the recycling of batteries.” However, it is still unclear exactly where the pilot plant is to be built. At first, after all, it was said that it could be built on the site of the Daimler plant in Kuppenheim. According to the new BNN article, however, the pressing plant would not be considered for a later factory: the potential expansion area in Kuppenheim has already been reserved for a possible new production line.
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