Li-Cycle, Glencore Plan Major Europe Battery Recycling Hub

by | May 9, 2023

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Li-Cycle and Glencore plan a large battery recycling facility in Italy

(Credit: Canva Pro)

Li-Cycle and Glencore have signed a letter of intent to build a major lithium-ion battery recycling hub in Portovesme, Italy. The Portovesme Hub, a 50-50 joint venture between the two companies, is projected to be the largest producer of sustainable battery-grade products in Europe.

The hub expects to have a processing capacity of up to 50,000 to 70,000 tons of black mass per year, or approximately 36-gigawatt hours of lithium-ion batteries. Glencore’s commercial network and Li-Cycle’s Spoke network in Europe will supply black mass to the recycling facility, reusing materials in the creation of new batteries.

The hub would produce crucial battery materials, including nickel, cobalt, and lithium, from recycled batteries, reintroducing these materials into the supply chain.

Li-Cycle and Glencore, two industry leaders in lithium-ion battery production, will complete a definitive feasibility study for the Portovesme Hub project by 2024, and the construction of the facility is expected to commence by late 2026 to early 2027. Building from an existing, experienced workforce and infrastructure from Glencore’s metallurgical complex in Portovesme will expedite a cost-efficient development process once the building begins.

“Establishing a Hub through the re-purposing of our Portovesme site, which could become the first Glencore asset to produce battery-grade lithium, will enable us to truly close the loop for our European OEM and gigafactory customers across all aspects of the supply chain,” Kunal Sinha, global head of recycling at Glencore, said. “It will shorten delivery times, reduce emissions by minimizing the distance of the freight routes, and support Italy and Europe’s ambitions to be a global leader in the circular economy.”

Li-Cycle Builds on Models of Success from Rochester Hub

The Portovesme Hub will replicate Li-Cycle’s success in creating and implementing their Rochester Hub, allowing Europe to recycle scrap and end-of-life batteries through hydrometallurgical processes fully within the continent.

“Li-Cycle’s expansion in Europe aligns with our modular rollout strategy, as we replicate our successful North American model, which mirrors customer demand and commercial contracting with a strategically located pre-processing Spoke network and centralized post-processing Hub,” according to Tim Johnston, co-founder and executive chair of Li-Cycle.

Between the use of existing infrastructure from Glencore’s metallurgical complex and Li-Cycle’s knowledge from the accomplishment of their Rochester Hub, the partnership mutually benefits both companies in their continued expansion of efforts to support a closed-loop solution for lithium-ion batteries, according to the companies.

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