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BASF starts work on major EV battery recycling hub

Chemical company BASF is building a commercial scale battery recycling plant in Germany. The multi-million dollar site will be able to handle 15 000 tonnes of electric vehicle (EV) batteries and battery production scrap per year.

BASF’s recycling hub will be in the city of Schwarzheide and will strengthen the sustainable production of cathode active materials in Europe. The location is said to be an ‘ideal’ due to the presence of many EV car manufacturers and cell producers in Germany and neighbouring countries.

Operations are scheduled to start in early 2024 and the plant will create about 30 production jobs. The German government has provided funding of EUR 175 million towards the cutting-edge facility. 

BASF will recover valuable battery metals, notably lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese to be the feedstock for the commercial hydrometallurgical refinery for recycling batteries that BASF plans to build in the next few years.

‘With this investment, we take the next step to establish the full battery recycling value chain at BASF. This allows us to optimise the end-to-end recycling process and reduce the CO2 footprint,’ says Peter Schuhmacher, president of the catalyst division at BASF, emphasising the need to reduce industry’s dependency on mined raw materials.

Legislation is hailed as an important lever of change. The soon-to-be revised EU Battery Regulation will continue to cover recycling efficiency of lithium-ion batteries, as well as material recovery and recycled content targets for nickel, cobalt and lithium.

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