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Sustainable, safe and efficient recycling processes (Batteries Partnership)

In order to effectively exploit the vast amounts of EV and stationary battery waste emerging in the next decades, as well as the increasing amounts of production scrap resulting from larger manufacturing, it is important to create innovative feasible and holistic recycling processes in Europe.

Newly developed recycling processes are expected to be more flexible and adaptive, to be able to meet a wide variety of battery waste or production scrap resulting from cross different Li-battery chemistries (i.e. with and without transition metals). It is desirable to implement intelligent process design through integrating selected fractions into existing industrial infrastructure, or other innovative integration of fractions or processes. The recycling processes may partially utilise existing metallurgical infrastructure of the primary materials to support feasible processing and explore ways to support industrial transition towards green technologies.

Newly developed recycling processes are expected to aim at recovering the highest amount of resources (e.g. metals, graphite, fluorinated compounds and polymers, active materials) present within secondary raw materials which result from spent Li-batteries with and without transition metals and focus on the reuse of these materials in batteries.

Low-value chemicals from manufacturing processes should be returned to high-value and necessary inputs for the battery manufacturing industry. Focus should, however, be on developing materials recycling routes which as directly as possible target next-generation battery cathode and anode materials. Vertical integration to component/cell manufacturing should be improved.

Proposals are expected to aim at the outmost recovery rates and recovered material purity, meeting industrial requirements for their integration in the loop of cell manufacturing, in line with values reflected in Partnership Strategic Research Agenda (SRA).

Recovery/re-use/re-purposing/reconditioning of battery materials/electrodes/components should also be maximised and recycling discharge minimised.

Proposals are expected to develop new unit processes, or innovative combinations of optimised unit processes, including, but not limited to mechanical pre-processing, leaching, precipitation, solvent extraction, ion exchange, centrifuging, crystallisation, electrowinning, roasting, smelting, pyrolysis, shock wave disruption and direct reuse of materials and components.

Proposals are expected to identify and address health risks, environmental impacts, safety hazards and new safety practices related to developed processes.

The environmental impacts and benefits are to be quantified through life cycle thinking approach (e.g. LCA/SLCA), also in collaboration with the project funded under the joint topic HORIZON-CL5-2021-D5-01-04.

The co-operation with projects funded under topics HORIZON-CL5-2021-D2-01-01, HORIZON-CL5-2022-D2-01-01 should be established.

International collaboration is strongly encouraged.

This topic implements the co-programmed European Partnership on ‘Towards a competitive European industrial battery value chain for stationary applications and e-mobility’.