Lithium-ion batteries are a part of everyday life, from our mobile phones and laptops, to e-cigarettes, and to the ever-increasing array of electric vehicles on the roads. These batteries have allowed us to store and mobilise energy more than ever before. However, batteries do not last forever and, just like the AAs in your TV remote control, there will be a day when they must be sent for recycling.
At present, all lithium-ion batteries are exported from the UK for recycling, mainly to facilities in mainland Europe. There is no capacity in the UK to treat lithium-ion batteries, and with volumes of waste batteries growing year-on-year this presents a major challenge. The potential dangers of handling lithium-ion batteries is also well-known, with the increasing prevalence of batteries being connected with a rise in fires at waste sites across the UK and Europe.
To address the challenge R S Bruce is establishing the UK’s first lithium-ion battery recycling facility; this facility will handle all kinds of lithium-ion batteries, from small portable cells up to large battery packs used in electric vehicles, and will cover all stages of processing including discharging, disassembly, and recovery of materials such as the cathode powder, copper, and steel.
As part of the expansion into this new business area, Sam Haig has joined R S Bruce as Battery Recycling Business Manager. Sam has joined R S Bruce from Axion Recycling after nearly a decade’s experience in the waste and recycling sector, and already four months into the role, he is excited about the opportunity available to the business. “There is a clear need for lithium-ion battery recycling in the UK”, he says, “and R S Bruce’s unique set of skills and experience puts it in an ideal position to seize this opportunity”.
R S Bruce will also work with reuse partners to evaluate battery packs for second life applications, such as stationary storage, extending the life of batteries beyond their first use.
The facility will begin processing batteries at R&D and pilot scale before the end of the year, with a full-scale commercial recycling plant by mid-2020.
If you would like to know more or have any batteries that you would like to discuss, please contact Sam Haig on +44 (0) 114 2448050