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Primobius
Well positioned in the heart of Europe

Mass global adoption of electric vehicles is now a certainty and will drive greater demand for LIBs, for expansion of existing cell making capacity and for new cell manufacturing. It will also generate enormous demand for battery raw materials. If these materials are sourced from new mine production, they will carry a significant carbon footprint. If a portion of these materials are sustainably and ethically sourced from small carbon footprint battery recycling operations, the overall EV industry footprint will be reduced. In time, the proportion of recycled materials used in battery manufacturing should increase as the volume end of life batteries increases.

Primobius has started construction of its first demonstration plant in Germany – the geographic centre of Europe and its EV and battery supply chains. The first Primobius commercial recycling plant is also likely to be built in or near Germany, with the advantage of minimizing the transport footprint for disused batteries.

Primobius recycling location

The SMS group Hilchenbach manufacturing facility covers a total of 40,000 m2 and ranks among the most modern anywhere in the world.

A dedicated 2,000 m2 facility houses the Primobius demonstration plant. Commercial-scale battery shredding equipment has been integrated with proprietary-design beneficiation and refining circuits. The integrated demonstration facility in Hilchenbach provides the opportunity for vehicle, battery and consumer electronics manufacturers to observe the Primobius’ process safely dispose of hazardous LIBs and generate re-usable materials for the production of new batteries and other goods.

Following the operational life of the demonstration facility, Primobius is planning to build a number of large-scale commercial facilities. The location for the first of these, in Germany, is the subject of a detailed site selection process. The feasibility assessment of the first commercial operation has started and will incorporate the conclusions from operation of the demonstration plant.

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In addition to the demonstration facility in Hilchenbach, Primobius is planning to build multiple large- scale commercial facilities. The location for the first of these in Europe is the subject of a detailed site selection process.

Demonstration plant

The demonstration plant, which follows extensive pilot trialing, will showcase the Primobius integrated recycling solution in a dedicated continuous campaign that will reduce LIBs donated by EV and stationary energy storage partners to their constituent materials for re-use.

Product outputs from the trial will be evaluated by potential customers, partners and off-takers. The demonstration plant trial will provide an opportunity for carmakers, consumer electronics and battery manufacturers to verify Primobius’ capability to safely, sustainably and ethically dispose of hazardous LIBs to comply with all regulatory obligations. 

At approximately 20,000tpa capacity, the commercial-scale shredding equipment at the demonstration plant will represent Europe’s largest of its type, coupled with a Refining section that is designed to generate the data required for future optimisation and economic studies. Perhaps most importantly, the demonstration plant will showcase an opportunity for partners to watch their spent batteries go into the process and a range of products come out of the other end for supply chain evaluation.

The LIB Recycling Technology being showcased in the demonstration plant comprises two stages:

  1. Shredding and sorting
    • Physically separation of components to remove metal casings, electrode foils and plastics 
  2. Refining
    • Leaching, purification and precipitation to deliver predominantly refined chemical products via the hydrometallurgical processing facility