Anglo American has announced the launch of a research and development project in collaboration with GEM, one of China’s largest battery and battery material recyclers, to explore new and more efficient technologies for the use of existing and alternative raw materials to be used in batteries for electric vehicles (EVs).
Paul Ward, executive head of base metals marketing for Anglo American, says: “Our diversified portfolio includes a range of products critical to the long-term decarbonisation of transport – a sector estimated to account for over 15% of global emissions. We are collaborating with leaders in the sector to explore new technologies that build on the physical qualities of our portfolio of products to help tackle some of the key challenges facing the industry and contribute to the sustainable scale-up of EV travel.
“Our work in this space is part of our commitment to supply our customers with products tailored to their specific needs and that capitalise on the opportunities offered by ongoing technological innovation.”
The project will focus on jointly developing metal dissolving technologies, using metals such as nickel, cobalt and manganese, to facilitate a more efficient use of battery materials, from either mined or recycled routes, with the intention of improving existing processes as well as exploring the use of new materials not currently employed in the battery value chain.
China is the world’s largest EV market, with an expected eight million vehicles sold in 2023. GEM is a leading global battery material producer, with pioneering technology and capability to recycle batteries through the extraction of the minerals they contain.
Professor Xu Kaihua, founder and chairman of GEM, comments: “We have over two decades of experience in recycling batteries and electronics and have invested heavily in understanding the processes needed to recover raw materials essential for the energy transition.
“This collaboration marks an important step for us, as we seek to drive synergies with industry leaders such as Anglo American that participate in the critical raw materials value chain and share our commitment to advancing technological development to shape a more sustainable future for the transport sector.”
Anglo American is a key partner to the automotive industry, supplying the precious metals enabling catalytic converters to strip pollutants from car exhaust gases as emissions regulators become ever more stringent. Anglo American has also been an early supporter of the hydrogen economy, advocating for more widespread adoption of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).