August 3, 2023: A feasibility study where lead and zinc processing at Glencore’s Portovesme subsidiary in Italy could be replaced with a lithium recycling operation is underway, Li-Cycle confirmed on August 1.
Li-Cycle announced the launch of the study as its first European lithium ion battery recycling plant in Germany moved into operation.
Canada-based Li-Cycle said black mass produced at the Germany ‘spoke’ facility would be processed at the Portovesme ‘hub’ if a proposed 50-50 joint venture with Glencore goes ahead.
Spoke facilities are where all types of lithium ion batteries are transformed from a charged state to what the firm describes as an inert product. The resulting black mass is then transferred to a hub, where cathode and anode materials are processed into battery grade end-products for reuse in battery production or other applications.
Both companies have yet to say whether Portovesme could also continue lead and zinc processing. Li-Cycle had not responded to questions from Batteries International at the time of publishing this article.
Li-Cycle has said Portovesme would have an expected black mass processing capacity of 50,000-70,000 tonnes annually.
The new spoke in Magdeburg (pictured) spans more than 20,000m2 with 10,000 m2 warehouse capacity.
Meanwhile, Li-Cycle’s first commercial hub for black mass processing is under construction in New York.
Li-Cycle plans more spoke facilities in France and Norway in addition to its existing spokes in North America.