Firm launches collaborative service for end-of-life batteries

Resource recovery expert Axion has joined forces with two other partners in a major initiative aimed at reusing and recycling the growing volume of batteries used in electric vehicles and light automotive applications.

The joint initiative with Aspire Engineering Ltd, a specialist in sustainable circular economy remanufacturing, reuse, recycle engineering and manufacturing solutions provider, and Aceleron, a lithium-ion battery reuse specialist, will tackle the growing market of electric vehicle battery systems at the end of initial life.

It will also address the large number of cells from end-of-life portable electronic equipment.

In the UK alone, it is estimated that there could be more than 100,000 end-of-life batteries from electric vehicles that will need recycling or re-using over the next decade.

Together the three companies are offering a full service for end-of-life lithium-ion batteries that will address the previously complex, expensive and energy-intensive issues associated with recycling these types of materials.

This service brings together the expertise in ‘three Rs’: batteries will be processed for remanufacturing, reuse and recycling by Aspire; tested and repurposed for second-life applications by Aceleron; and recycled by Axion. The service is aimed at cell suppliers, battery pack manufacturers as well as manufacturers of electric vehicles and power storage units.

A joint facility based at Axion’s recycling sites in Manchester will be receiving batteries collected from customers. Here they will be assessed for their reuse potential using Aceleron’s innovative testing methods, and Aspire’s engineering and process operating model for disassembly and rebuild. Batteries that have usable life remaining will be remanufactured or reused in a variety of applications by Aspire or Aceleron, with the remainder being recycled through Axion.

Axion’s Head of Engineering & Research, Sam Haig said: “Combining the skills of all three companies opens up a more cost-effective end-of-life route by recovering batteries that still have a useful life and extracts more value that can be passed onto clients.”

Amrit Chandan, CEO of Aceleron commented: “Applying Aceleron’s battery testing and repurposing technology with Aspire’s remanufacturing knowledge and Axion’s ability to efficiently recycle really provides single point of service value for battery users and vehicle OEMs across the UK.”

Aspire’s Managing Director, Ian Briggs said: “This venture brings together a strategic alignment of three companies which have the same goal and same environmental and sustainable ethos. This connection is bound by morals for a cleaner environment and a sustainable future.

“The drastic change to technology needed for an emission-free clean air solution needs partnerships like this to aid with solving the full circular economy business structure, enabling a complete sustainable solution. This full service offer we three companies provide will support major OEMs with their end-of-life vehicle directive requirements.”

The service has been developed from Axion’s earlier work with the Innovate UK-funded AMPLiFII (Automated Module-to-pack Pilot Line for Industrial Innovation) project. This £14 million research consortium, led by WMG at the University of Warwick, explored novel separation techniques to recover high-value metal compounds from automotive battery packs. The service has also developed through Aspire’s earlier work in research and development of different major OEMs’ battery systems and other BEV powertrain products and being a partner in the H1perbat consortium, an APC-funded programme led by Williams Advanced Engineering and Aston Martin.

Axion is now a partner in the CALIBRE project, a collaboration between Johnson Matthey, Autocraft Drivetrain Solutions, Benchmark Mineral Intellegence, Nissan, and WMG at the University of Warwick to demonstrate a UK-based supply chain for end-of-life batteries. Meanwhile Aspire and Aceleron are members of the VALUABLE project, in collaboration with
Env-Aqua Solutions, HSSMI (High Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Institute), NPL (National Physical Laboratory), Tevva and UCL (University College London).

The VALUABLE project looks at a battery remanufacturing business solution, technical processing methods and capital investment cost requirements for setting up a battery system remanufacturing facility. Both projects have benefited from Innovate UK funding through the Faraday Battery Challenge.

Axion develops and operates innovative resource recovery and processing solutions for recycling waste materials. Axion works with a wide range of clients, from Government agencies and local authorities to companies in diverse commercial sectors, on the practical development of new processing and collection methods to recover value from waste resources.