March 9, 2023: Mercedes-Benz held a groundbreaking ceremony on March 3 for an EV battery recycling factory in Kuppenheim, Germany.
The auto giant said the first stage of the plant, the mechanical dismantling of the batteries, is scheduled to start ramping up at the end of this year.
A hydrometallurgy pilot plant will be set up a few months after, “subject to the outcome of promising discussions with the public sector”.
The pilot plant is expected to have an annual capacity of 2,500 tonnes, with recovered materials fed back into the recycling loop to produce more than 50,000 battery modules for new Mercedes-Benz models.
According to the company, all recycling operations will be integrated within a single factory, which it claimed was unique in Europe.
Mercedes-Benz has not disclosed financial details but said Germany’s federal economics and climate protection ministry was funding the plant as part of a scientific research project.
The auto firm said it is investing “a double-digit million euros amount in the construction of the balance sheet CO2-neutral plant”.
Kuppenheim will eventually cover every step of the recycling process, from dismantling at the module level to shredding, drying and processing of battery-grade materials, the company said.
The hydrometallurgy process aims to have a materials recovery rate of more than 96%, the company claimed.
Mercedes-Benz is cooperating on the project with technology partner Primobius, a joint venture of the German mechanical engineering company SMS and Australia’s Neometals.
Energy Storage Journal reported last year that major automakers were also driving the momentum of battery cell manufacturing in Europe — according to analysis published in February by CIC energiGUNE.
Pictured from left: Jörg Burzer (member of the board of management of Mercedes-Benz Group for production and supply chain management), Thekla Walker (minister for the environment, climate protection and the energy sector Baden-Württemberg) and Michael Brecht (chairman of the works council of the joint operation Gaggenau, to which the Kuppenheim plant belongs). Photo: Mercedes-Benz