Accurec announces new proces to recycle lithium from old batteries

The German recycling company Accurec says it has developed a process with which it can recover lithium from old batteries. This would make the Krefeld-based company the first in Europe to recycle lithium on an industrial scale.

This was revealed by a report in the German publication Handelsblatt. According to the report, the plant of the medium-sized company is to go into operation in spring. Groups such as Umicore and BASF are also planning lithium recovery plants in Europe, but are still some steps away from commissioning.

Accurec was founded in 1996 and is currently realigning its “entire process technology chain”. Management is now focusing on lithium recovery. To do this, the company uses a hydrometallurgical process to recover lithium from used batteries from electric cars, e-bikes, electronic devices and conventional household batteries. Until more batteries from electric cars become ready for recycling, the company says the focus will be on the other types of batteries, most notably household batteries.

The factory is expected to be able to recycle lithium from 4,000 tonnes of waste batteries per year. Accurec claims that it is currently able to recover 50 per cent of the lithium present in the batteries. This rate is to increase to 80 per cent in the future. The company states that the purity of the recycled lithium is “between 98 and 99 per cent”. Accurec’s managing director Reiner Sojka is quoted in the Handelsblatt as saying that the degree of purity would have to be increased somewhat before it could be used again in a battery. According to him, this could also be done by lithium producers like SQM or Albermale. However, the Krefeld-based company is said not to have a purchase contract yet. (in German)


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