Australian-German Battery Recycling Pilot Facility Opens

March 2022

Primobius, a joint venture between Australian company Neometals and Germany’s SMS group, has inaugurated a demonstration plant for recycling lithium-ion batteries in the western German town of Hilchenbach.

The 2000-square-meter facility is intended to test the viability of a two-stage mechanical and hydrometallurgical procedure for recycling raw materials from old batteries for new ones. The joint-venture hopes to take advantage of growing European and German demand for electric vehicles.

“Germany made the most sense when you combine the existence of a location site to the proximity of cell and car manufacturers as well as potential off-takers for the materials we recover,” says Neometals General Manager of Commercial and Investor Relations Jeremy McManus . “The confluence of regulation, subsidies, funding and penalties creates the perfect environment and makes the economic proposition of EV ownership too good to pass up for the European consumer. Germany also has significant tax exemptions and subsidies for the purchase of new EVs and provides significant support in terms of assistance for companies bringing inbound investment.”

Primobius has signed a memorandum of understanding with Mercedes-Benz subsidiary LICULAR at maximizing recycling rates, reducing resource consumption and creating a more circular and sustainable raw materials supply chain.

“Along with our partners SMS, we are delighted to commence the commercial operations phase of what has been a 5-6 year development journey,” says McManus, “The transition from research and development into operations will allow the joint venture, Primobius, to showcase its capabilities and its industrial circular recycling solution with European customers.  The recently announced cooperation with Mercedes adds to our commercial pipeline at a time when there is intense global focus for resilient domestic supply chains. Additionally, the world demands solutions that enable decarbonization, and Primobius is well placed to support that effort during the transition to clean energy.”

© Primobius