Renault, Veolia and Solvay have announced a partnership to enable the circular economy of EV battery metals in Europe through closed-loop recycling.

The existing Veolia and Solvay consortium, created in September 2020, is tnow reinforced by Renault’s position and experience in circular economy and in the life cycle of EV batteries, leading to a highly complementary partnership benefitting from Solvay’s expertise in the chemical extraction of battery metals and Veolia’s 10 years of experience in lithium-ion battery dismantling and recycling via a hydrometallurgical process.  

With the number of electric vehicles on the road expected to grow from 10m in 2020 to over 100m by 2030 worldwide, ensuring stable access to responsibly sourced battery materials is a strategic challenge. 

In that respect, the three partners seek to establish a secure and sustainable supply source for strategic battery metals, such as cobalt, nickel and lithium. The companies plan to achieve this goal by leveraging their respective expertise at each step of the value chain – from collection of end-of-life electric vehicle batteries to dismantling, metal extraction and purification – and by enhancing existing mechanical and hydrometallurgical battery recycling processes. Through Solvay and Veolia’s joint innovative technology, strategic metals that were previously recovered in a form only suitable for metallurgical applications will be extracted and purified into high-purity metals ready to be reused in new batteries, thereby reducing the environmental footprint of future EV batteries through this closed loop.  

The three partners are already actively engaged in an experimental phase, which involves setting up a demo plant in France with the capability to extract and purify end-of-life EV battery metals.