Mercedes-Benz is intending to recycle electric vehicle battery systems and is starting the construction of its recycling plant in Kuppenheim, Germany.
The company laid the foundation stone for the sustainable battery recycling facility, cutting resource consumption and establishing closed-loop recycling of battery raw materials.
The first stage of the plant – mechanical dismantling of electric vehicle batteries – is scheduled to start ramping up at the end of this year. Subject to the outcome of promising discussions with the public sector, a hydrometallurgy pilot plant will be established only a few months later.
This innovative approach for an integrated recycling concept within a single factory is currently unique in Europe. Mercedes-Benz is investing a double-digit million Euro amount in the construction of the balance sheet CO2-neutral plant, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection as part of a scientific research project. This investment strengthens the role of the Kuppenheim site within the global Mercedes-Benz production network and marks a decisive step for Mercedes-Benz’s sustainable business strategy as it moves towards going “Electric Only”.
The pilot plant is expected to have an annual capacity of 2,500 tonnes. The recovered materials will be fed back into the recycling loop to produce more than 50,000 battery modules for new Mercedes-Benz models. Based on the findings of the pilot factory, production volumes could be scaled up in the medium to long term.
|The most important data|
|Location||Mercedes-Benz plant Kuppenheim|
|Ramp-up mechanical dismantling||December 2023|
|Annual capacity||2.500 t|
|Batteries||Lithium-ion batteries from (plug-in) hybrids and electric vehicles|
|Origin of the batteries||Test vehicles, start-up batteries, returns of the field|
|Recovery rate||> 96 %|
|Recovered material||Battery-grade recyclate (cobalt, nickel, lithium and in future also graphite)|
|Technology partner||Primobius GmbH|
|Scientific Partners||Karlsruhe Institute of Technology|
Technical University of Berlin
Technical University of Berlin
Holistic approach to battery value creation
Mercedes-Benz is taking a holistic approach to the circular economy of battery systems, looking at three core issues: Circular design, value retention and closing the loop. During the development of a vehicle, the company creates a concept for each vehicle model in which all components and materials are analyzed for their suitability in the context of a circular economy. Material recycling of the raw materials used, such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, is an integral part of this approach, and also begins with the design of the components. This approach covers the entire supply chain from mining to recycling. A high level of attention is also paid to the observance of human rights in the working conditions of employees.
Mercedes-Benz offers reconditioned batteries as replacement parts for all electric vehicles, in order to comply with the idea of a closed economic loop and to conserve resources. In addition, Mercedes-Benz has established a successful business model with stationary large-scale energy storages through its subsidiary Mercedes-Benz Energy. Batteries that can no longer be used in vehicles can continue to be used in a 2nd-life storage system. Material recycling is at the end of a battery’s life, and is the key to closing the loop of recyclable materials.