”In the period of just over two years, we have successfully implemented two large-scale plants in Europe in addition to two pilot plants in the field of battery recycling. With the third large-scale project, we are now reaching a high degree of maturity of a still very young, novel recycling process,” comments Daniel Zeiler, Vice President in the Recycling Technology Business Unit. “We are particularly proud that we have been able to secure another renowned and innovative customer like BASF.”
At the end of June 2023, BASF, together with partners and customers celebrated the opening of Europe's first co-located center for battery material production and battery recycling. A significant component is the plant supplied by BHS for the mechanical processing of lithium-ion batteries. This plant is seen as an important step towards closing the loop for the European battery value chain and raw material supply, ultimately reducing the CO2 footprint.
Scheduled to commence operations in 2024, the plant in Schwarzheide, Brandenburg will have a processing capacity of 15,000 metric tons of spent lithium-ion batteries and scrap from battery production per year. BASF already produces cathode active materials for lithium-ion batteries. The black mass produced at the plant contains valuable metals such as nickel, cobalt and lithium, which undergo chemical extraction in a subsequent processing step at BASF. These metals are then utilized in the production of new battery materials.
Recycling plant meets the high safety standards of the chemical industry
BHS-Sonthofen and BASF both equally benefit from this extensive cooperation. ”The plant in Schwarzheide is being constructed to the highest environmental, health and safety standards. To meet our customer’s stringent requirements, we have developed tailored solutions for our machines and components in close coordination with BASF,” Daniel Zeiler explains.
Knut Zöllner, Senior Vice President at BASF, confirms, “In BHS-Sonthofen, we have chosen a partner who seamlessly combines the worlds of classic recycling technology and chemical process technology particularly well, complementing BASF's own experience.”
Over the past two years, BHS-Sonthofen has further optimized the technologies and process parameters used in the process, focusing on material selection, work safety, and ease of maintenance. “For example, operation of the shredders is now easier and safer. Additionally, enhanced accessibility allows for better cleaning and maintenance of the machines,” says Zeiler. Furthermore, BHS incorporated valuable operating experience gained from pilot and large-scale plants into the Schwarzheide project, ensuring efficient scaling.
“Battery recycling is a crucial prerequisite for fostering the circular economy and meeting EU quota requirements,” Zeiler concludes. "We are currently witnessing substantial investments in battery recycling on a global scale, and recycling technology is continuously improving. The process from BHS-Sonthofen has now more than proven itself in practice."