The project’s aim and objectives
NEXT-LIB is a project with high scientific level and high innovative content for the treatment of spent lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) to meet the requirements of efficiency, economic and environmental aspects. The project will contribute to a sustainable solution for Lithium-Ion Batteries (LIBs) recycling with low cost and low environmental impact, which will benefit to producers, users, and society. At the same time the battery manufacturing imported materials to Europe will be reduced meanwhile the position of European battery recycling industry and battery manufacturing will be strengthened, encouraging access to new jobs and further growth. Within Europe, there are several drivers that make the roll-out of new recycling and circular economy approaches to LIBs and their constituent materials are essential to implement:
- European market for producing LIBs to expand significantly, becoming the dominant battery form in the next 10 years (factor 5, from 20 to 210 GWh/year production; 18% world market)
- Recovery demands on raw materials from batteries will become more stringent (from 50%, even up to 80%, compared to an actual 5% that reach recycling facilities today)
- Demand growth will have a tremendous effect on materials within Europe already seen to have high economic importance, high supply risk, or both (Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) are ggraphite and cobalt, other materials with high importance in LIBs are Ni, Mn, Al, Cu, P and Li)
- The heavy metals and toxic elements in LIBs can lead to a serious risk to the environment and consequently to human health, if not treated appropriately.
Potential and industrial relevance
The NEXT-LIB project addresses main topic No. 4 of ERA-MIN Call “Recycling and Re-use of End-of-Life Products”, and subtopic 4.2 “End-of-life products pre-processing” and subtopic 4.3 “Recovery of raw materials from End-of-life products”. The project focused on an efficient characterization, separation and recovery of metals/non-metals from LIBs via innovative approaches and covers the technology readiness level (TRL) 1-6 including basic principles, formulation of technology concepts, experimental proof and technology validation in lab and pilot scale.
The project is suited to be a part of an integrated research program for exchange of experiences, scientific inter-disciplinary and other common activities between partners from Universities, research institutes and industrial sectors. The project consists of partners that in a European perspective are the best suited enterprises and organisations to contribute to the objective of this project with high experience in their respective specialty and excellent reputation in research and development. The research institutes and academia in this consortium have already participated in several R&D projects with the industrial stakeholders mentioned above in this field.
The saving potential by material recovery from spent LIBs include ~153 ktons of Fe, ~76 ktons of Cu, ~25 ktons of Al, ~102 ktons of Co, ~127 ktons of Li and ~59 ktons of plastics. These recovered materials can bring about a recycling potential of 5 billion € in addition to ~85 ktons of graphite and ~85 ktons of electrolyte.
Flowsheet of project activities
NEXT-LIB partners and stakeholders
Swerim is the project coordinator and the project consortium have experts from Luleå University of Technology (LTU) and uRecycle (Sweden), Porto University (Portugal), Extracthive and CEA (France), GTK and Boliden (Finland) and INSTM (Italy).
The NEXT-LIB partners are all active in scientific collaboration in international forums. The existing networks and contacts of individual participants outside this consortium will strengthen the project. The project partners will co-operate closely with international expert groups through the European Innovation partnership on Raw Material Commitments such as MetNet and EUROPEM. Interaction with these EU-projects and networks with European innovative organizations in metallurgy and recycling (e.g. Prometia, Stena Recycling AB) ensures maximization of the EU resources in the mineral and metallurgical processing areas.
NEXT-LIB is EU project funded by ERA.MIN2 in collaboration with national funding agencies: Vinnova (Sweden), ADEME (France), Calabria Region (Italy), Business Finland (Finland), FCT (Portugal).
- The Project coordinator: Dr. Guozhu Ye, Swerim.
- Executive project manager: Dr. Elsayed Mousa, Swerim.