Fenix Battery Recycling has acquired a 30,000 square foot facility in Kilwinning, Scotland. The site will play an important role in Fenix’s plans to develop facilities for on-site recycling of multiple battery types – expediting the roll-out of recycling innovations developed by Ever Resource and Fenix.
The news comes after Fenix, Ever Resource and the University of Birmingham received significant grant funding to develop an innovative technology for the recycling of lithium-ion batteries. The funding, £955K, from the Government’s Innovate UK Smart Grants programme, is for the development of separation technologies to reduce the environmental impact and improve the efficiency of lithium battery recycling.
Fenix’s new fully licensed and permitted site, at Byrehill Industrial Estate, is ready to accept batteries for storage and discharge. The new facility will play a fundamental role in expanding the company’s infrastructure for battery recycling in the UK and global markets, with material coming from as far away as the USA to be treated by the company.
The surge in electric vehicles has created a need for effective Lithium-Ion battery recycling. A solution is a step closer, as Ever Resource joins forces with Fenix Battery Recycling and Birmingham University to develop innovative new separation systems. The project has been awarded £955K in grant-funding via the highly contested Innovate UK Smart Grants competition.
Emma Kendrick, Professor of Energy Materials at the University of Birmingham and her research group, including Dr Rob Somerville, have invented a process which physically / mechanically separates anode-arisings and cathode-arisings in shredded lithium batteries. Efficiencies greater than 99% have been achieved in the laboratory. By separating the two main component streams physically, all downstream recycling initiatives – including pyro, hydro and electroplating – become cleaner, less wasteful and more economic.
The project is supported by Formula E World Championship, a single-seater motorsport that uses electric cars. The technology will be piloted at Fenix’s Willenhall recycling site, alongside a Lithium-Ion shredding operation of 500 kg per hour.
iQ International AG (iQ) has signed an agreement for the acquisition of Ever Resource Ltd – UK research-led company with circular economy innovations including battery recycling technologies for multiple types of batteries.
iQ is a multinational sustainable technology company publicly traded at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Its global head office is in Zug, Switzerland, and North American headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona. The company has developed innovative technologies for lead-acid batteries, including an award-winning mixing technology which prevents acid stratification in automotive batteries. This technology received First Prize at the Frankfurt Automechanika Innovation Awards (2010) and Gold Medal at the GreenTec Awards (2017) in Berlin – Europe’s most prestigious award for environmental innovations.
In June 2020, iQ signed an exclusive license agreement with the University of Cambridge for the lead battery recycling technology developed jointly with the team at Ever Resource. After working closely with the Ever Resource founders for over a year, iQ has decided to acquire Ever Resource and hire its founders to launch company-wide innovative recycling initiatives, particularly for batteries.
Ever Resource’s portfolio of technologies includes processes which turn waste into feedstock (including hydrogen) and produce value-added products from end-of-life materials including batteries, plastic, tyres and municipal solid waste. In October 2020, the company was awarded funding (£237,000 GBP) jointly with the University of Cambridge to manufacture proprietary nano-oxides for enhanced lead-acid batteries.
iQ is in the closing stages of a major fund-raise of $130 million USD. These funds have enabled iQ to acquire the Tecnova-Bosch battery factory based in Ecuador – a manufacturer and distributor of Bosch-branded lead-acid batteries. In 2019, Tecnova produced approximately 695,000 batteries, generating net sales of USD 64 million.
These funds will also enable iQ to roll out its “Advanced Battery Factory” (ABF) – a manufacturing innovation which combines new mixing, pasting and curing technologies. ABF will shrink the production time of lead batteries from 2-3 days down to less than 10 hours, with cost savings of up to 20%, water consumption reduced by up to 90%, working capital reduced by 50%, and consumption of electricity reduced by up to 25%.
The addition of Ever Resource’s nano-oxide to the ABF production line will herald the arrival of a new chapter for the lead battery. Our innovative oxides will enhance active material utilisation, increase the battery’s energy density and allow greater cycling and depth of discharge with additional cost-savings of at least 10% and significantly reduced environmental impact.
iQ is convinced that these newly acquired circular economy and recycling and upcycling technologies, together with the Company’s already superior 360 mixing battery and ABF technologies, will allow iQ to become one of the leading Battery Technologies Companies in the world within five years. iQ International will seamlessly merge its battery manufacturing innovations (from iQ Power) and resource, recovery, and recycling technologies (from iQ Environmental) to convert end-of-life batteries and other commodity items into component parts and energy for battery manufacturing.
“The acquisition of Ever Resource is in line with our strategy to leverage the lead-acid battery supply chain where it has not previously been levered. Adding certain technologies from Ever Resource to iQ International´s existing intellectual property portfolio will allow us to re-think where lead-acid battery manufacturing and recycling begin and end, which we believe will result in a more efficient utilization of existing infrastructure”, said Kevin T. Loman, CEO of iQ International AG. “The two gentlemen, Athan and Miles, have brilliantly put together the technologies at Ever Resource and they are a perfect complement to the team of experts that have recently entered the executive team at iQ as previously announced”, added Kevin.
Further to the acquisition of Tecnova, Mr Reinhardt Peper, former President of the Board and CEO of Bosch Battery Systems, has joined iQ’s Advisory Board. Dr Athan Fox has joined iQ as Director of Innovation and Mr Miles Freeman has joined as Director of Recycling Operations.
The Melville Laboratory for Polymer Synthesis, within the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, has secured funding for a 1-year Post-Doc position to carry out research on the City Oil Field technology. The award, £100,000 GBP, is provided by the EPSRC IAA Partnership Development Award.
The technology, supplied by Ever Resource in partnership with iQ International AG, can process mixed plastics at low temperatures of 200 – 270 °C. The system can tolerate many types of plastics including HDPE, LDPE, polystyrene and metallised or ceramic films. A proprietary catalytic degradation process converts the mixed plastics into high-grade fuel, with excellent tolerance to impurities (including organic waste, oils, metals and more).
The project will involve collaborative work between the group of Prof. Oren Scherman and City Oil Field. iQ International and Ever Resource will be looking to raise more funding for this area of research to gain further insights into the catalytic degradation mechanisms of polymeric materials found in municipal waste and commonly used plastics.
The project theme is “sustainable process engineering.” The successful candidate will work alongside leading researchers at Cranfield to develop a solution for the circular economy of end-of-life lead-acid batteries.
The background to this project is a hydrometallurgical process which was invented by R Vasant Kumar and span out of the University of Cambridge, UK, in 2016. This process enables conversion of end-of-life battery paste into ready-to-use new oxide, with substantial improvements to the environment – including a reduction in the carbon footprint by around 85% and reduction in the waste outputs by more than 90%.
Controlling the thermal combustion of a key intermediate is integral to the process and requires further research and development. We look forward to working with the successful candidate and Cranfield University.
The lead-acid battery is the world’s most successfully recycled commodity product. Its success is mainly due to recyclability and sound economics. However, since the 1880s when the lead battery entered mass production, the industry has adopted a ‘one size fits all’ approach to the lead oxide.
Our objective under this project is to selectively produce nanostructured variants of each oxide phase – litharge, massicot, red lead etc – to improve and to optimise battery performance. Our method, which is scalable to meet market volume, enables control of the crystal structure (phase) which leads to improvements in the energy and power densities, charge acceptance, cycle life and more. This innovation will support the world’s switch to clean energy with storage that does not rely heavily on critical/mined raw materials.
Our project partner is the University of Cambridge, where Dr Vimalnath Selvaraj, Senior Researcher at Ever Resource, will lead research efforts in partnership with Professor Vasant Kumar at the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy. In partnership with iQ Int. AG, a sustainable technologies company that manufactures and distributes highly efficient lead-acid batteries, we will test the nanostructured phase-optimised oxides in commercial batteries.
Fenix Battery Recycling Ltd is the first facility in the UK to offer on-site recycling for all types of batteries. Its first processing line, a state-of-the-art battery shredding and recycling plant in Willenhall, West Midlands, will open its doors in October 2020.
The company will be processing alkaline batteries to produce secondary steel; zinc- and manganese-containing products; paper; and plastic components. In 2021, the technology will be in place to recycle lithium-ion batteries. The same facility will also process all other battery types – including lead-acid and nickel-cadmium batteries.
In partnership with leading Universities in the UK and around the world, Fenix Battery Recycling will support Ever Resource to develop, scale up and commercialise innovative technologies which accelerate our transition to a world without waste. Fenix’s founders – Neil Muttock (Chair), Damian Lambkin (Business Development Director), Miles Freeman (General Manager) and Athan Fox (Technology Director) – are experienced in battery and WEEE collection, recycling, technology and compliance.
To find out more, visit www.fenixenv.com
Dr Athan Fox, CEO of Ever Resource Ltd, will participate in Trans-Global Events’ “Plastic Free World” conference as an invited speaker on 09 and 10 Nov 2020. Dr Fox’s presentation will be focusing on the City Oil Field technology – a commercially available system capable of processing mixed plastics (including LDPE, HDPE, polystyrene and foams, metallised and ceramic films, and more) in one pot without front-end separation, cutting, shredding, washing, de-labeling etc. The technology, invented by City Oil Field in South Korea, is proven at scales of up to 120 tonnes per module per day and is commercially available via City Oil Field and Ever Resource Ltd.
Cyanobacteria, otherwise known as “blue-green algae”, commonly obtain their energy from oxygenic photosynthesis. This means they convert sunlight into chemical energy, splitting water to liberate oxygen and fixing carbon dioxide into sugar. Cyanetics Ltd, an innovative biotechnology company based in Stevenage, UK, exploits this process to manufacture “products from pollution” – by converting carbon dioxide into chemicals useful for industry. Our proof of concept project, funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), is a collaboration with The University of Nottingham and involves synthesis of citric acid from modified cyanobacteria. The naturally-produced citric acid will be used in industry to recycle lead-acid battery paste via our innovative technology, FenixPb.