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Teesside University and Altilium Lead £750,000 Initiative to Establish UK’s First Circular Economy for Electric Vehicle Batteries

Teesside University, in collaboration with the prominent clean technology firm Altilium, is actively contributing to the establishment of the United Kingdom’s inaugural circular economy dedicated to electric vehicle (EV) batteries.


Teesside University and Altilium Lead £750,000 Initiative to Establish UK's First Circular Economy for Electric Vehicle Batteries p
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Together, the University and Altilium are spearheading the development of a large-scale battery processing and black mass production plant on Teesside, with the capacity to process over 100,000 EV batteries annually upon completion.

This ambitious £750,000 initiative has received substantial backing, including a grant of nearly £560,000 from Tees Valley Launchpad. This funding source, established by Innovate UK as part of UK Research and Innovation, serves as a collaborative research and development fund.

In the context of battery life conclusion, “black mass” refers to the material generated through the collection, discharge, dismantling, and shredding of batteries. The energy-efficient production of black mass represents the initial stage in the comprehensive battery recycling process.

Significantly, black mass is rich in critical metals such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, and manganese—essential components in the original battery manufacturing process. Leveraging proprietary recycling technology, Altilium can recover over 95% of these vital battery metals, yielding battery-ready cathode active material (CAM).

The proposed commercial-scale black mass plant is poised to supply raw material to Altilium’s Teesside-based battery recycling and CAM production hub, constituting one of the region’s most substantial green investments.

Collaborating closely with academics from Teesside University’s Net Zero Industry Innovation Centre, Altilium will be actively involved in shaping and implementing the design of the black mass plant, further solidifying the commitment to advancing sustainable practices in battery management and recycling.

Professor Michael Short, Acting Associate Dean (Research and Innovation) in the School of Science, Engineering & Digital Technologies, is the principal investigator on the project. He said:

“As a University which is committed to responding to the climate emergency through the adoption of smart and green technologies we are delighted to be able to support Altilium with our expertise on this project.

Decarbonisation of transportation is a key enabler of the drive to net zero, and the battery recycling plant is destined to have a huge impact on the UK’s rapidly expanding electrical vehicle (EV) and battery production infrastructure. This project will help to establish the Tees Valley as a national hub for sustainable battery technology, and the wider North East as a national hub for sustainable EV manufacturing.”

At present, Altilium stands as the sole UK entity dedicated to the recovery of essential battery metals from black mass. The company’s cutting-edge hydrometallurgical recycling methods contribute to a notable 50% decrease in carbon emissions when juxtaposed with the utilization of virgin materials in battery manufacturing. This environmentally conscious approach also yields a cost reduction of 20%, laying the foundation for more economically viable and widely accessible electric vehicles.

Altilium Chief Operating Officer and co-founder Dr Christian Marston commented:

“We are excited to be working with the experienced team at Teesside University to close the loop on battery recycling and establish a sustainable domestic supply chain for the low carbon battery materials required for the electrification of transport in the UK.

With the growing volume of end-of-life batteries expected over the next decade, it is critical that we develop the infrastructure to ensure safe and efficient processing of this waste in the UK, rather than exporting these valuable resources to be processed overseas.”

Altilium is poised to introduce an exclusive customer offering in the UK through its comprehensive battery circularity model. This unique approach encompasses a zero-carbon EV battery collection, black mass recycling, and chemical refining. At its Teesside CAM production plant, the company will have the capacity to manufacture 30,000 metric tons of battery-ready CAM annually. This substantial output is equivalent to fulfilling 20% of the UK’s requirements by the year 2030.

Beyond meeting the country’s evolving energy needs, Altilium’s initiative aligns seamlessly with the recently unveiled Government battery strategy, launched last month (November). This strategy outlines a roadmap for the UK to establish a globally competitive battery supply chain, fostering economic prosperity and facilitating the transition to a net-zero economy by the year 2030.


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Owain Griffiths

Owain Griffiths

Head of Circular Economy at Volvo Cars

Owain joined Volvo Cars in June 2021 to lead Circular Economy in the Global Sustainability Team. The company has committed to being a circular business by 2040 and has financial, recycled content and CO2 based targets for 2025, all of which Owain is working across the company to make happen. Owain previously worked for circular economy consultancy Oakdene Hollins where he advised businesses on evidence led circular economy implementation. 

Turning into a circular business and the importance of vehicle reuse and recycling.

The presentation will cover the work Volvo Cars is doing to achieve 2025 but mainly focus on the transformational work towards 2040 and the business and value chain changes being considered. Attention will be paid to the way vehicles are being dealt with at the end of life and the complexities of closing material and component loops. Opportunities and challenges which Volvo Cars is facing will be presented including engagement with 3rd parties and increasing pressure from stakeholders.

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e2e Total Loss Vehicle Management [e2e] is the UK’s only salvage and automotive recycling network with nationwide, environmentally compliant sites delivering performance resilience and service reliability to the insurance and fleet markets.  The network’s online salvage auction drives strong salvage resale values and faster sales.  e2e’s salvage clients have access to the network’s stocks of over 5 million quality graded, warranty assured reclaimed parts. 

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The salvage and recycling operating environment is evolving rapidly, and e2e is anticipating, listening and responding to changing market needs.  Regulatory compliance, ESG, reclaimed parts, customer experience, EVs, new vehicle technologies, data and reputation risk are just some of many considerations linked to the procurement of salvage services.  e2e will drive further added value to clients and members through the adoption and application of emerging technologies, continuing to differentiate its proposition and position salvage services as a professional partnership. 

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