Mercedes-Benz has broken ground on a 7,000 sq.m lithium battery recycling plant in Germany, with an annual capacity to handle 2,500 tonnes of battery material from hybrid and pure battery electric vehicles (BEVs). According to the carmaker, those materials will be fed back into to produce more than 50,000 battery modules for new Mercedes-Benz models.
Earlier, Mercedes-Benz had revealed that it is investing a double-digit, million-euro amount in the construction of the plant, which will operate on a carbon-neutral basis. The move promises to cut future reliance on the supply of battery materials from overseas locations as well as make the process of battery production more sustainable.
Dismantling of the batteries at the new Kuppenheim plant is set to begin by the end of this year. The facility will later also shred, dry and process the battery materials using a hydrometallurgy process developed with technology expert Primobius. The carmaker has also worked with scientific partners at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the Technical University of Berlin.
Mercedes-Benz said it expects a material recovery rate of around 96 percent. Working with its partners, the company said it had covered the full process of battery recycling including the development of a logistics strategy, the sustainable recycling of valuable raw materials, and the reintegration of recyclates into the production of new batteries.
Jorg Burzer, Head of production and supply chain management at Mercedes-Benz Group, said, “This foundation symbolises the decisive step towards closing the material cycle for batteries from Mercedes-Benz. With a recycling rate of more than 96%, a ‘mine of tomorrow’ is being created here in Kuppenheim. The innovative technology approach enables us to incorporate the valuable raw materials into new Mercedes-EQ vehicles.”