SEPA suspends licence at controversial Fenix recycling plant

SEPA suspends licence at controversial Fenix recycling plant

SEPA suspends licence at controversial Fenix recycling plant 1024 527 Batteries International

May 31, 2024: Scotland’s environmental regulator has suspended the waste management licence belonging to Fenix Battery Recycling,  the operator of the Kilwinning battery recycling site where a major fire broke out this April. This means no waste can be accepted, stored or treated by the company.

Two enforcement notices have been served by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) requiring Fenix to remove waste batteries that have been on the site at West Byrehill Industrial Estate for longer than six months. The agency has also suspended approval as an Approved Battery Treatment Operator (ABTO).

The only activities, within the scope of regulation by SEPA, that can be carried out by the company at the site are the removal of waste to appropriately licenced sites.

SEPA said it had issued the enhanced package of enforcement actions following both non-compliance with licence conditions and the site infrastructure being destroyed by the fire. Continuing to carry on the licensed activities at the site in its current condition would be considered a risk which could cause serious pollution of the environment and serious harm to human health, SEPA said. “

We partially suspended Fenix Battery Recycling Ltd’s licence last year when it failed to comply with a previous enforcement notice we served. We will not hesitate to take further action, in line with our enforcement policy, as required.”

Fenix Battery Recycling has had a checkered history in the past few years. It was partly co-founded by Athan Fox and Miles Freeman, directors of a company known as Ever Resource, formerly Aurelius Technology, in July 2020.

In 2022 Fox and Freeman resigned from Fenix. Fox moved that year to become CTO and a director of Regenerate Technology Global. The general manager of Regenerate’s EU and UK operations is Miles Freeman, who is the managing director of UK-based Ever Resource.

Fenix Battery Recycling merged with Regenerate Technology Global, according to a statement made this January 15. It said: “The merger represents a strategic alliance between FBR’s deep expertise in battery recycling and RTG’s cutting-edge technological prowess. This collaboration is set to redefine the recycling industry, with FBR expanding its operations under the vast umbrella of RTG’s global network.”

The CEO and co-founder of Fenix was approached for his reaction late yesterday but was unable to comment in time for publication.

All statements used in this story are matters of published record by the parties concerned or official government sites. Any response from RTG will be published in full in the next issue of the bulletin.

Fox wanted to use Fenix to commercially recycle lead acid batteries — in particular its battery breaking machine — through a hydro-metallurgical process that would deliver lead oxides in a variety of structures that would be suitable for re-use.

Regenerate Technology Global said on February 13 it had secured a long-term lease of a former lead battery manufacturing plant in Italy where it will launch a lead recycling operation,

Regenerate co-founder Fox said the company, which also has an option to buy the plant, is renovating the 125,000 ft2 facility in Bologna and plans to start upcycling of lead acid batteries by this summer.

Fox did not disclose details of the technology involved, but said operations at the site will mark a “significant leap in commercial-scale, upcycled leady oxides production”.

Regenerate’s CEO and co-founder is David Batstone, a respected founder of US-based social impact investments company Just Business. Batstone was an early investor and former board member of the American Battery Technology Company.