TES has secured the future of a 10,000 square metre (110,000 sq ft) recycling facility in the Port Of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest seaport.

The facility, adjacent to the waterways of the Port of Rotterdam and with an option to extend onto a neighbouring plot that will increase the site to more than 40,000 square metres (430,000 sq ft), already has a basic waste licence to receive, store and forward lithium batteries and to manage electric vehicle batteries and battery production scrap, as well as a licence to shred alkaline batteries.

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The site extension is planned to be fully operational by late 2022 and TES says it will be the first lithium battery recycling plant in the Netherlands, complementing the two other TES lithium battery recycling facilities in Grenoble and Singapore.

The TES site in Grenoble was one of the first recycling sites to use an inert shredding process, which safely crushes lithium batteries and developed a number of patents for hydrometallurgical processes.

The experience gained in France played a role in TES opening South East Asia’s first lithium battery recycling facility in Singapore in March, 2021. The facility has the daily capacity to recycle up to 14 tonnes of lithium batteries – the equivalent of 280,000 smartphone batteries.

The existing facilities will support the development of the new, larger-scale site in the Port of Rotterdam.  The combined capacities of the three facilities will make TES one of the largest service providers of lithium battery recycling globally, as well as one of the largest generators of commodity materials produced from the battery recycling process.

The deal is part of a commitment from TES to improve the collection and recycling of portable and industrial batteries in Europe and supports the EU’s goals laid out in the European Green Deal.

It is also a move in preparation for the rise in global demand for lithium batteries as car manufacturers increase electric vehicle outputs – which are predicted to increase 14-fold by 2030 (compared to 2018 levels).

A report from Circular Energy Storage in December 2020 says Europe is currently under-capacity for sustainable lithium battery recycling and more is needed to meet waste generation by 2030.

According to figures from the European Commission, the EU could account for 17% of global demand for lithium batteries by 2030, the second-highest share worldwide.

“We have a vision to be a global sustainability innovator and our unwavering ambition to turn the Port of Rotterdam site into a state-of-the-art European battery recycling facility is key in delivering that strategy,” said TES Global VP Battery Operations, Thomas Holberg.

“Once up and running, we will have up to 10,000 tonnes of shredding capacity per year and a subsequent hydrometallurgical process that focuses on the recovery of nickel, cobalt and lithium as a precursor feedstock for the battery industry.”

In response to rising demand, the European Commission has proposed modernising EU legislation on batteries as part of its Circular Economy Action Plan. This includes goals for batteries that are more sustainable throughout their entire life cycle.

“We are working not only towards a net zero CO2 emission port and industry in 2050, but also looking at ways to make the industry more circular,” added Port of Rotterdam CEO, Allard Castelein.

“Therefore, besides working on projects regarding, for instance, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage, it is important to take significant steps to establish circular production processes.

“The TES project in Rotterdam is exactly that. This could very well become the largest European facility for recycling batteries from electric cars.”