Solvay and Veolia announce their partnership on a circular economy consortium to offer new solutions that promise better resource efficiency for critical metals used in lithium ion electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

With the number of electric vehicles on the road expected to grow from 8 million in 2020 to 116 million by 2030, ensuring stable access to raw materials is a strategic challenge. Furthermore, materials used today in EV batteries are not always recovered at their maximum value.

Solvay and Veolia, through its subsidiary SARP Industries, are already actively engaged in discussions with a car manufacturer and battery cell producers, to coordinate, collaborate and leverage on respective technologies and core competences at each step of the value chain – from access and spent battery feedstock to dismantling, metal extraction and purification.

Solvay’s role in this consortium is to optimize the extraction and purification of critical metals such as cobalt, nickel and lithium and transform them into high-purity raw materials for new batteries, ready for another fresh start. The project demonstrates that Solvay’s technologies are essential in closing the loop of circular economy. Solvay is also present in the EV and hybrid battery value chain due to its high-performance specialty polymers for binders and separators and specialty additives for electrolytes.

In its recycling plant in eastern France, Veolia has already been dismantling batteries for electric vehicles since 2013. The combination of mechanical and hydrometallurgical processes makes it possible to treat the active cells and extract the active metals. These metals are then used by industry and transformed into new materials.