A new electric battery plant designed for construction in Teesside may help the UK become less reliant on China and provide a significant boost to the electric car sector, reports said.
The Recycling Factory
According to Express.co.uk’s article, initial plans for a new recycling factory in the UK to process dead batteries from electric vehicles (EVs) were unveiled earlier this month by Altilium Metals, a sustainable technology business located in the UK.
The firm pointed out that this site would assist reduce the price of importing huge amounts of minerals essential to the energy transition as EV demand rises.
This facility has the potential to drastically slash the price of EVs in the United Kingdom by providing access to low-cost battery minerals.
Battery Cost Increase
As part of the worldwide drive towards net zero, several European and other countries are considering banning the sale of new gasoline and diesel vehicles. Therefore, interest in EVs is growing all around the world.
Christian Marston, chief operating officer of Altilium, recently expressed concern about the rising cost of batteries due to an increase in the value of rare earth elements.
He told Express.co.uk, “Since 2021, lithium has gone up by nine times, I would guess that cobalt and nickel have gone up four times. This is driven by a number of reasons, one is the demand side as we have batteries needed for the EV revolution, but also nickel has been affected by the Ukraine war as Russia is a large nickel producer.”
The plant may reduce the high cost of importing these materials by recycling them from batteries currently in use in the U.K.
Marston pointed out that the site’s potential to improve energy security was also substantial. This is especially relevant given China’s position as the world’s primary controller of the crucial mineral supply chain.
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Mineral Supply Chain
Experts have previously voiced worries about China’s dominant position in this business, providing a warning that Beijing may weaponize the supply of such minerals to the UK in the event of a confrontation between China and the West.
“These critical minerals are geopolitical right now, and essentially the UK doesn’t have at-scale sources of critical minerals. It doesn’t have its own supply of critical minerals, and it’s going to have to enter a global supply chain that’s going to be tight and essentially controlled predominantly by the Chinese,” Marston explained.
The UK has been working on a “Critical Minerals Strategy” since early this year to ensure a steady supply of these materials, especially in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Marston went on to say that given the importance of minerals to the energy transition, it is clear that achieving a “net zero” or “rapid decarbonization” of economies would be impossible without these materials.
Transitioning from a fuel-based to a mineral-based energy source will provide issues for the U.K., he added.
In light of the UK government’s plan to ban the sale of new fossil fuel cars by 2030, Altilium predicts that worldwide demand for EVs will soar, leading to the yearly production of over 11 million tonnes of battery trash.
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Written by Trisha Kae Andrada
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