LGES and Huayou plan battery recycling plants in China
South Korean battery cell manufacturer LG Energy Solution (LGES) announced a joint venture with Huayou Recycling, a subsidiary of Huayou Cobalt, to set up two battery recycling plants in China.
A plant for the pre-treatment of battery scrap will be built in Nanjing, and one for the post-treatment in Quzhou, not far away. The locations were chosen to keep the distances short. LGES operates a battery factory in Nanjing, while Huayou Cobalt is in Quzhou. From the end of 2024, battery scrap from the LGES plant in Nanjing and used batteries collected by Huayou Recycling will be delivered to the joint venture company to recover nickel, cobalt and lithium – which will then be brought back to the LGES plant in Nanjing.
“Through the JV, LGES will ensure a stable supply of waste batteries and battery scraps that are vital to the company’s initiative toward establishing an integrated closed-loop manufacturing system, and further strengthen its competitive edges in securing key battery raw materials,” the South Korean battery maker writes. Further, by locating both the pre-treatment and post-treatment facilities close to its plant, it will be able to “establish more solid closed-loop recycling system in China”.
According to LGES, it already established a recycling system at its Nanjing plant in 2022. The company also says it is looking for strategic partners worldwide to set up a collection system for used batteries. That includes a cooperation with Canadian battery recycler Li-Cycle.
LG Energy Solutions already partners with Huayou Cobalt through its parent company LG Chem. Both sides plan to build a factory for cathode precursor materials made of nickel, cobalt and manganese in South Korea and set up a joint venture. They announced the plan in the spring of 2023. Construction of the new factory in the Saemangeum National Industrial Complex will begin this year. The first production phase, with an annual production capacity of 50,000 tonnes of the so-called precursor material, is scheduled to start in 2026. In the second phase, output is to be doubled to 100,000 tonnes.
The parent company LG Chem already launched a joint venture with B&M, a Huayou Cobalt subsidiary, to produce cathode materials in mid-2022. The joint venture, of which LG Chem owns 51 per cent, is scheduled to start mass production of NCMA cathode materials with an annual capacity of 60,000 tonnes in the South Korean city of Gumi from the second half of 2024.
The Chinese company Huayou Cobalt is one of the most important suppliers of battery raw materials worldwide. The company has numerous partnerships with carmakers and battery cell manufacturers – for example, two joint ventures will be established with VW in China.