Britishvolt joins with Glencore to open battery recycling plant

Britishvolt joins with Glencore to open battery recycling plant

Battery manufacturing start-up Britishvolt has announced a partnership with mining firm Glencore to develop a “battery recycling ecosystem”. 

The joint venture will open a new recycling plant by mid-2023 near Northfleet in Kent, at Glencore’s Britannia Refined Metals facility, which was once the country’s largest coal-fired power station. 

Britishvolt says the facility will eventually be powered by 100% renewable energy and will process a minimum of 10,000 tonnes of lithium ion batteries per year.

It will process battery manufacturing scrap from Britishvolt’s Blyth gigafactory, construction of which began in September last year, as well as EV packs and portable electronics batteries.

“This exciting project adds much to our existing relationship with Glencore supplying Britishvolt with responsibly sourced cobalt,” said Timon Orlob, Britishvolt’s global chief operating officer. “Recycling is key to a successful energy transition and has always been a major part of Britishvolt’s business model. 

“This joint venture will help us both to create a truly sustainable battery value chain, create jobs and develop new battery recycling technologies. Both Britishvolt and Glencore are fully committed to reducing carbon across the supply chain.”

Glencore already has experience of recycling other products, such as copper, alloy straps, black mass and discarded electronics. Part of the recycling process will recover valuable metals needed for the energy transition, the companies claim. 

“Both companies are united in their ambition to further the energy and mobility transition,” said David Brocas, Glencore’s head cobalt trader. “Glencore has decades of recycling experience across multiple disciplines – [such as] e-waste, copper scrap, battery. This recycling partnership complements our long-term supply agreement for responsible cobalt from our operations in Norway and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“It will also play a part in furthering the UK’s climate ambitions as well as Glencore’s as we work towards net-zero total emissions by 2050.” 

Meanwhile, Britishvolt recently secured £1.7 billion funding from investment firms Trixtax and Abrdn for its battery manufacturing plant in the north-east of England, as well as receiving an estimated £100 million from the UK government’s Automotive Transformation Fund. 

Britishvolt hopes the north-east factory will build enough cells to supply 300,000 automotive battery packs each year by 2028 – the equivalent of 48GWh of power.