The Volkswagen Group Components opened the Group’s first plant for recycling electric car batteries in Salzgitter. The aim is the industrialised recovery of valuable raw materials such as lithium, nickel, manganese and cobalt in a closed loop together with aluminium, copper and plastics, achieving a recycling rate of more than 90% over the long term.
The unique feature of the Salzgitter plant is that it only recycles batteries that can no longer be used for other purposes. Before the battery is recycled, an analysis determines whether the battery is still powerful enough to be given a second life in mobile energy storage systems such as the flexible rapid charging station or the mobile charging robot, for example. Larger volumes of battery returns are not expected until the late 2020s at the earliest. Therefore, the plant has been designed to initially recycle up to 3,600 battery systems per year during the pilot phase – this is the equivalent to approximately 1,500 tonnes. In future, the system can be scaled up to handle larger quantities as the process is consistently optimised.
“Volkswagen Group Components has achieved a further step in its sustainable end-to-end responsibility for the battery as a key component of electric mobility,” asserted Thomas Schmall, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, Technical Division, and Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Group Components, and added: “We are implementing the sustainable recyclable materials cycle – and play a pioneering role in the industry for a future-oriented issue with great potential for climate protection and raw material supply.”