Primobius signs MoU with InoBat to operate a commercial lithium-ion battery recycling facility in Eastern Europe.
Primobius GmbH, a 50:50 joint venture between Neometals Ltd, West Perth, Australia, and SMS group GmbH (www.sms-group.com), signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Slovakian battery manufacturer InoBat Auto j.s.a of Bratislava in November 2020. This agreement is a first important step towards the commercialization of the Primobius technology in Europe, which at the same time creates a secure basis for the supply of feedstock in sufficient quantities.
The MoU provides the framework for evaluating a potential cooperation between Primobius and InoBat to operate a commercial lithium-ion battery recycling facility in Eastern Europe. This would include a commercial shredding facility that processes battery scrap from InoBat production. In a further process step, raw material for cathode production is then to be produced from the so-called black mass, i.e. the material obtained from the comminution process, in a hydrometallurgical process.
InoBat aims to accelerate the implementation of e-mobility solutions in Europe by developing a fully integrated value chain that will give Europe a competitive edge in the global market and provide a long-term sustainability perspective for the automotive market. InoBat is currently building a “gigafactory” with a capacity of 10 gigawatts per hour, to be completed by 2024.
The plant is expected to produce 50,000 metric tons of batteries annually after the start of full commercial operation, also planned for 2024. There was just one month between the signing of the MoU with InoBat and the establishment of the Primobius joint venture. This underlines the importance of this forward-looking recycling process for lithium batteries, which allows high-purity chemicals to be returned to the battery industry in aCO2-saving manner.
Based on the pilot plant in Lakefield, Canada, Primobius is currently building a demonstration plant in Hilchenbach. The first tests at the Hilchenbach plant are scheduled for the second quarter of 2021.
In addition to progress in proving the feasibility of the process and preparations for the upcoming demonstration trials in Germany, Primobius is currently focusing its activities with regard to the commercialisation of the technology on securing sources of supply for spent batteries and talks with potential purchase partners.
In the first stage of commercialization, the Primobius plant is expected to process 20,000 tons of spent batteries. Primobius Managing Director Michael Tamlin commented, “We are delighted that Primobius and InoBat have started planning the project and can now work together towards a legally binding form of collaboration. The fact that we were able to attract interest from a battery manufacturer so quickly after Primobius was established shows us the importance of our project and that our recycling solution has the potential to be developed to industrial scale.”