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Glencore, FCC, and Iberdrola partner on Lithium-ion Battery circularity solutions

Image for representation purposes only. Source: City of San Diego

To provide lithium-ion battery recycling solutions at scale for Spain and Portugal, mining firm Glencore, Spanish utility Iberdrola, and commercial waste management firm FCC have announced their partnership.

The companies intend to combine their respective experience and expertise to offer comprehensive recycling and second life solutions for lithium-ion batteries, both from gigafactory production scrap and end-of-life batteries.

In collaboration with the Iberian Energy Storage Research Centre, the companies have assessed existing battery recycling capabilities, and feed availability in the region. They continue to work towards identifying the location for the recycling facility, which will be supported by sector leading technology, they claim. 

Kunal Sinha, Global Head of Recycling, Glencore, commented, "We are delighted to be part of this alliance on battery circularity with Iberdrola, a world leader in renewable energy, and the FCC Servicios Medio Ambiente, the leader in waste management services for Spain and Portugal. Together, we aim to leverage the individual strengths of each company to bring circularity to the lithium-ion battery ecosystem across Spain and Portugal". 

"At Glencore, we view production scrap as well as post-consumer materials as a valuable resource that will help supply the increasing demand for critical metals in support of the energy transition and the world's net zero ambition", he added. 

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The proposed facility will be operated by FCC Ámbito and will focus on the pre-processing of lithium-ion batteries and battery scrap, separating such feed into distinct streams for further downstream refining and recovery of battery metals, according to the partners.

"This is one step forward in our efforts to recover the resources contained in the waste and to minimize the dependence on raw materials. The recycling of lithium-ion batteries is a challenge that we face together with two leading companies in their sectors, Iberdrola and Glencore, in order to join efforts to guarantee the necessary recycling capabilities", said María J. Kaifer, Technical Director and Head of Circular Economy, FCC Ámbito.

With the increasing sales of electric vehicles comes the requirement for recycling their batteries once they have reached their true end of life, the companies predict that the recycling of battery materials is expected to reach c.35,000 tonnes annually in Spain by 2035 including production scrap.

"With a two-decade leadership in the global renewable energy industry and the transition to a decarbonize economy, sustainable business models are at the core of our strategy. At Iberdrola we regard this new cooperation as a valuable opportunity to continue closing the loop in the circularity of the energy transition we are helping to shape, while expanding our successful collaboration with FCC that is already addressing the wind blade recycling", said Álvaro Portellano, Global Head of PERSEO Venture Builder, Iberdrola. 

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