Nearly EUR 11 million financing for the builders of the sustainable battery industry in Finland

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Business Finland has granted funding of EUR 10.8 million for three years to the BATCircle 2.0 (Finland-based Circular Ecosystem of Battery Metals) consortium. The consortium's goal is to improve the manufacturing processes of the mining, metal industry and battery chemicals, and to increase the recycling of lithium-ion batteries. VTT has an important role in the project in designing circular economy methods and tools in the project. The collaboration led by Aalto University involves 6 research institutes and 15 companies. 

The aim of the BATCircle 2.0 project is to develop the Finnish battery metal industry and reduce Europe's dependence on imported raw materials and batteries. The goal is to create a battery industry of up to one billion euros in Finland. 

In the project, VTT's studies efficient recycling of batteries, the use of currently unutilized industrial side streams in battery production, and the sustainability of the battery value chain. VTT's budget for the project is EUR 1.25 million euros.

“We develop methods for identifying the chemistry of the spent batteries and their treatment. Our aim is to improve the efficiency and safety of recycling. We also survey the potential for circular economy solutions in the battery value chain and investigate the environmental impacts of the battery through the whole value chain. In addition, we develop tools for estimating the environmental impacts in the product design. This is important, as 80% of the environmental impact of products is locked already in the product design phase”, says Lotta Rintala, Senior Scientist at VTT. 

The use and demand for lithium-ion batteries is increasing drastically, as the number of electronic devices and electric vehicles and energy storage continues to rise. These batteries require not only lithium, but also other key metals like cobalt, nickel, manganese, copper, aluminium as well as graphite and other anode materials. It is important to create a European-wide battery industry which utilizes the enormous business potential in the lithium-ion batteries throughout the whole value chain. 

Established in 2019, the BATCircle consortium aims at improving the manufacturing processes of mining, metals refining and battery chemicals as well as materials industry, and at increasing the recycling efficiency of lithium-ion batteries. 

BATCircle2.0 consortium

  • Aalto University, University of Eastern Finland, LUT University, University of Oulu
  • Geological Survey of Finland (GTK), VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
  • Boliden Harjavalta Oy, Finnish Minerals Group Oy, Fortum Waste Solutions Oy,
  •  Metso Outotec Oyj, Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta Oy, Terrafame Oy, Umicore Finland Oy, AkkuSer Oy, BroadBit Batteries Oy, Oy Fennoscandian Resources Ab, FinnCobalt Oy, Keliber Technology Oy, Latitude 66 Cobalt Oy, Mawson Oy, X-Ray Minerals Services Finland Oy

 

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Lotta Rintala

Lotta Rintala

Senior Scientist