The material that the Chinese will supply to Tozero includes used electric vehicle batteries and scrap from battery production, according to the Munich-based company. As is customary in battery recycling, Tozero will recover all critical raw materials required for the production of new batteries.
Whether the agreement covers specific quantities or where exactly the materials come from is not mentioned in the announcement. However, Tozero states that the partnership will have a “significant impact on the region’s battery industry”, referring to Europe, as the partnership is limited to this continent.
Tozero opened its battery recycling pilot plant near Munich in September and aims to operate Europe’s largest factory with an annual capacity to recycle 90,000 tons of lithium-ion batteries by 2027. The start-up was founded in the summer of 2022, but already has the aforementioned pilot plant in Karlsfeld in operation.
“We’re pioneering a new era in the fight against battery waste, a challenge that affects the world at large,” said Sarah Fleischer, co-founder and CEO of Tozero. “By collaborating as a global force, we aim to set an example for the industry, demonstrating the transformative power of partnerships in addressing pressing environmental issues.” Fleischer is convinced that recycling could “easily” cover half of Europe’s lithium demand by 2040.
In addition to the supply itself, both companies also want to “jointly explore the potential of leveraging their respective recycling technologies to serve their customer base with a closed-loop battery material solution to significantly reduce the environmental footprint of new batteries.” One potential customer for the materials recycled by Tozero is Huayou itself: Huayou Cobalt, the parent company of Huayou Recycling, will build its first European factory in Hungary to produce cathode material for electric car batteries.
“We are glad to see that more and more innovative companies are rising and joining force with us in this great mission of sustainability,” says Wei Bao, General Manager of Huayou Recycling. “As a long-established leading battery recycler, we believe that by combining our strengths and resources with tozero, we can truly bring lithium-ion battery waste to zero.”