BASF builds factory for recycling nickel, manganese, cobalt and lithium from batteries

The German chemical company BASF is going to build a factory in Germany for recycling ‘black mass’, a composition of nickel, manganese, cobalt and lithium. These are the main cathode elements of today’s lithium-ion electric car batteries.

According to BASF The construction of this factory will strengthen the existing hub in Scharzheide for the production and recycling of cathode active materials. The company is therefore already present at this location in the east of Germany with a facility for the production of cathodes. Construction should start in 2024 and provide space for thirty new employees. The annual processing capacity is 15,000 tons of batteries from electric cars and production scrap.

The production of black matter can be regarded as the first step in the battery recycling process. Black matter contains high concentrations of lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese and will become the source for the hydrometallurgical refinery that BASF plans to build around 2025. That factory will mainly recover the desired metals from used car batteries in order to be able to use them again.

According to the company, the upcoming factory for black mass will close the chain, in the sense that it will form a link between worn-out batteries and the production of cathode active materials for new batteries. BASF states that this optimizes the end-to-end recycling process, leading to lower CO2 emissions, reduced dependence on mined raw materials and the possibility of a circular economy.

Impression of the factory to be built