European Lithium looks to close the loop with battery recycling project
Not content with aiming to be Europe’s first lithium supplier to the domestic battery market, European Lithium (ASX: EUR) is taking a leading role in the battery recycling space.
The Tony Sage-chaired developer of the Wolfsberg Lithium Project in Austria has come on board as the industrial partner for a research project looking at developing closed loop recycling for lithium ion batteries at the University of Graz.
Closed loop recycling is different from traditional recycling, as the properties of the original product are retained for future use.
In other words, components of lithium ion batteries could be recycled back into lithium ion batteries for future use.
Recycling lithium ion batteries has emerged as one of the biggest challenges for the growing EV and energy storage sector.
In Australia for instance, according to the CSIRO, just 2 per cent of the 3300 tonnes of lithium ion battery waste disposed every year is recycled, even though 95 per cent of the components could be reused.
That compares unfavourably to 98 per cent of the 150,000t of lead acid batteries sold in Australia in 2010.
In Europe, where the world’s electrification is taking place at a faster rate than elsewhere, this is of even greater concern, both for environmental reasons and to meet future supply needs.
“European Lithium aims to be the first operational European producer of lithium products for supply to the domestic battery market,” the company said.
“To meet estimated demand for battery grade lithium in the future, and meet the need for sustainable green operations, it is crucial to ensure that EV batteries are recycled.”
“The company considers there to be a logical connection between recycling and mining in the form of closed loop recycling.”
European Lithium CEO Dietrich Wanke called the collaboration with the University of Graz an “important strategic step to support the development of Wolfsberg”.
European Lithium posted a win recently after legal challenges to its Wolfsberg project were discontinued.
It is now in the final stages of a resource extension drilling program, with a DFS on the way soon.
The study will include a full metallurgical analysis of its proposed production process, with a full-scale pilot plant now set up in Hirschau, Germany.
A 2018 PFS, including a measured and indicated resource of 6.3 million tonnes at a grade of 1.17% lithium oxide, had a net present value at the time of $US339.4 million on an accelerated 10-year production timetable.
According to that study European Lithium would produce about 10,129 tonnes of lithium hydroxide per annum over a 10-year life at Wolfsberg.
It plans to have current drilling and metallurgical testwork programs completed under budget in July.
This article was developed in collaboration with European Lithium, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.