Our recycling process
Our battery recycling solutions are a proprietary in-house process, based upon our long-standing expertise in quality recycling. It combines an innovative treatment and recycling method with existing refining technology. We combine both pyro and hydro metallurgy.
Treatment includes the safe dismantling of large industrial batteries, including electric vehicle batteries, without crushing or shredding the cells. The advantage of this process is that operators and the environment are not exposed to hazardous battery compounds.
In the pyro metallurgy process, our smelting technology transforms the end of life battery materials into a metal alloy, containing cobalt, nickel, lithium and copper. Thanks to the innovative processing upgrades, our technology recovers the energy present in the batteries resulting in nearly no additional energy input, while treating potentially harmful gases. Finally, the alloy is further refined in an hydro metallurgic process to recover the metals separately. The recovered metals are then delivered in battery-grade quality allowing its recirculation into the production of new Li-ion batteries.
Umicore has continuously improved its processes and underlying recycling technologies thanks to intensive research and the unrivalled expertise gains that have been made during more than a decade with its pioneering industrial-scale plant. Our latest technology demonstrates recovery yields of over 95% for cobalt, copper and nickel from a wide variety of battery chemistries. Additionally, it is a first-of-its-kind technology to recover lithium at industrial scale. Our significant step-up in performance includes an optimized operating window which will be vital for the surge of electric vehicle adoption and the value chain as a whole. We are leading the way towards the circular economy.