Europe and Finland have the potential to become world leaders in battery recycling
‘The European Commission has drafted a strategic action plan for Europe concerning batteries. Our objective is to create an innovative, sustainable and competitive battery ecosystem in Europe’, says Lois Brett, who is in charge of the energy storage project of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre.
The action plan contains a comprehensive set of concrete measures encompassing battery materials, production technologies, applications, reuse and recycling. At the end of last year, the European Commission invited Finland to coordinate research on battery recycling under the leadership of Aalto University and Outotec. Recently, Aalto University has also been building the BATCircle (Finland-based Circular Ecosystem of Battery Metals) ecosystem in the BATtobe project. The BATCircle consortium aims at improving the manufacturing processes of mining industry, metals industry and battery chemicals, and to increase the recycling of lithium-ion batteries. It wishes to strengthen co-operation between companies and research organisations, and discover new business opportunities by collaborating with various Finnish companies, universities, research centres and cities.
The BATCircle operators met up with their European partners at Aalto University on 15 January to consider, for instance, how the European-wide co-operation could be strengthened. The event provided a comprehensive picture of research on battery recycling carried out in different countries, as well as the involved parties. Thereafter, research deficiencies and emerging needs were mapped out.
’The workshops revealed, for instance, that we should consider the recyclability of end products at a very early stage of design’, says Manager of BATCircle Consortium, Professor Mari Lundström.
At the moment, the entire battery industry’s value chain is dominated by Asian operators. The event organised at Aalto University proved, however, that Europe and Finland can potentially become world leaders in the circle economy of batteries.