In a bid to do so, Johnson Matthey, a global leader in sustainable technologies, has concluded a Memorandum of Understanding with Stena Recycling Group, a leading recycler of industrial waste and end-of-life products. The two companies aim to develop an efficient value chain in Europe for recycling lithium-ion batteries and cell manufacturing materials.
Sales of electric vehicles increased 43% globally in 2020 as battery costs have declined, helping to make EV cars more affordable1. Decarbonizing transportation is a critical step in helping societies and industries meet their ambitious net zero-emission targets. Electric vehicles consequently have the potential to significantly contribute to the tackling of the climate crisis.
The quantity of lithium-ion batteries used in vehicles and power storage is expected to increase nearly tenfold in the next decade, from 260Gwh in 2020 to 2,500Gwh in 20302. This will result in an exponential increase in demand for recycling, which is essential to recover critical metals such as lithium, nickel, and cobalt, reducing the carbon footprint of battery electric vehicles.
Jane Toogood, Chief Executive of Johnson Matthey’s Efficient Natural Resources Sector, said: “We are excited to be collaborating with Stena in delivering an efficient battery refining solution to the European market. Battery recycling is a good fit with JM’s core expertise in battery materials and the refining of strategic metals, strengthening our position in the development of a sustainable and circular battery value chain”.
Stena Recycling partners with all types of businesses in developing sustainable circular solutions. With 173 locations in seven Northern European countries, the group recycles over six million tonnes of materials annually including 240,000 end-of-life vehicles. Stena Recycling is currently rolling out facilities and processes to recover valuable materials from electric vehicle batteries for further refining.
Johnson Matthey will develop additional process steps to produce fully refined materials suitable for use in the lithium-ion battery manufacturing process, increasing the recycled content of new batteries. The closing of the loop from end-of-life recycling to new battery materials is essential to achieve circularity in the supply chain.
Rasmus Bergström, Executive Director Product Development for Stena Recycling, added “We believe a sustainable and circular solution for the recycling of lithium battery electric vehicles is an essential next step in the value creation and resource efficiency that defines our business and will support the drive to net-zero emissions. We are pleased to be working with JM towards that goal”.
Johnson Matthey is a global leader in science that improves the performance, function, and safety of customers’ products. In 2020 it received the London Stock Exchange’s Green Economy Mark, given to companies that derive more than 50% of revenues from environmental solutions. Its science has a global impact in areas such as low emission transport, pharmaceuticals, chemical processing, and making the most efficient use of the planet’s natural resources.
Stena Recycling has 3,000 employees across Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Poland, Germany, and Italy, creating long-term recycling solutions. Stena Recycling also offers services such as Design for Recycling to increase the recycling rate of products already in the design stage. Stena Recycling is part of the Stena Metall Group.
1 Report by EV-volumes.com, a consultancy based in Sweden.
2 Report by Circular Energy Storage Research & Consulting based in the UK.