Enel X and MIDAC have taken a significant step forward in promoting sustainable energy by engaging in research and development activities to build Italy’s first major recycling plant for lithium batteries. This plant will cater to the recycling of lithium batteries used in electric vehicles, industrial systems, and stationary systems.
In partnership with other Italian and European companies and research institutes the two companies are making strides in the European IPCEI (Important Project of Common European Interest) batteries project.
European IPCEI Batteries Project
IPCEI battery project aims to assist in the development of a sustainable, circular European lithium battery supply chain.
Twelve EU member states and 17 companies, including major car manufacturers such as BMW, Renault, and Volkswagen, are part of the public-private partnership. The initiative aims to invest over $4 billion in research, development, and innovation to create a sustainable and competitive battery industry in Europe. It remains focused on three main goals:
- To develop new, innovative, and sustainable battery technologies that are competitive with those developed in Asia.
- To create a sustainable and ethical supply chain for battery raw materials
- To develop a circular economy for batteries
Estimates suggest that Europe will require the recycling of around 200,000 tons of lithium batteries by 2030. This project will have a crucial role in achieving this goal, thereby promoting the use of sustainable energy.
Enel X and MIDAC’s R&D Activities
Both companies will be conducting R&D activities in their own fields of expertise. Enel X will be focusing on developing cutting-edge technology that automatically dismantles lithium batteries, as well as their recycling process.
Meanwhile, MIDAC will be developing the entire lithium recycling process, starting with a pilot scale, and then building an industrial plant with an annual capacity of at least 10,000 tons. Through this approach, batteries can have a second life, thereby reducing the environmental impact and increasing the percentage of materials recovered from 60% to over 90%.
As part of the circular model, the recycled raw materials will be used to make new cells, resulting in less mineral extraction. This, in turn, will reduce the costs and environmental impact of the process. With Enel X and MIDAC working together, the project will be able to optimize the lithium recycling process and reduce its carbon footprint.
The technology developed by Enel X will ensure that the dismantling of lithium batteries is done automatically, reducing human error and minimizing the risk of accidents.
Enel X’s Commitment to Sustainable Battery Production in Europe
This is Enel X’s third IPCEI battery project, following two successful launches in 2020 and 2021. The aim of this new project is to foster the development of cutting-edge sustainable technologies, including Digital Twin technology, for lithium-ion batteries. The ultimate goal is to extend the lifespan of batteries, reduce charging times, and improve their safety and environmental sustainability.