Audi and Umicore have successfully completed the test phase of their strategic research cooperation. The result of the research, which looked into strategic battery recycling, is the ability to recover more than 90% of the cobalt and nickel in the high-voltage e-tron batteries.
The car manufacturer and the materials technology and recycling expert are now entering the next phase. As of January, the partners will cooperate on a closed loop for cobalt and nickel. The recovered materials will be used in new battery cells.
“A closed loop for battery raw materials is a big leap technologically,” said Dr Bernd Martens, member of the board of management for Procurement and IT at Audi. “We save precious resources and reduce CO2 emissions.
“In this way we come significantly closer to our goal of a sustainable supply chain and reach a milestone on the road to achieving an overall carbon-neutral balance by 2050.”
For the closed-loop pilot project, Umicore will receive cell modules from the Audi e-tron model, which will initially be taken from development vehicles. From those cells, cobalt and nickel will be recovered, and processed into precursor and cathode materials. From this, new battery cells containing recycled cobalt and nickel can be produced.