The Primobius joint venture (JV) between Australian Neometals and German company SMS Group has secured an order for the supply of 10tpd of shredded battery material (spoke) from German automaker Mercedes.

The order has been placed as part of a cooperation agreement between Mercedes and Primobius, which was reached in May 2022.

As part of it, the JV has been given the responsibility for engineering, equipment supply and installation for a fully integrated, closed-loop Mercedes lithium-ion battery (LIB) recycling plant in Kuppenheim, Germany.

The plant will use Primobius’ hydrometallurgy technology to recycle batteries.

The materials recovered from the process can then be reused to produce new lithium-ion cells. Mercedes broke ground on the facility earlier this year.

This facility is expected to have a 2,500tpa capacity and will recover materials such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, and manganese. These will be fed back into the production of 50,000 battery modules to be installed in new Mercedes vehicles.

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For Primobius, the purchase order for the material is a significant milestone, as it represents its first commercial recycling plant supply agreement and also its first significant revenue.

The order is a validation of its technology, which will help to meet the global demand for lithium batteries.

Primobius is currently finalising front-end-engineering (FEED) works for the facility and expects a separate hub next month. Its priority is to complete the procurement and fabrication of the plant and equipment supply package. Installation is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of this year and commissioning is scheduled for early next year.

Neometals managing director Chris Reed said: “The spoke is ready to be offered to our business development pipeline and the hub will soon be product-ready.

“I would like to thank our partner SMS and our respective teams in Primobius for their commitment to ensuring the quality of our recycling solution to meet Mercedes’ exacting requirements.

“Primobius looks forward to working with Mercedes to scale up the technology and provide an industrial-scale recycling solution to meet their future needs.”