Altilium has successfully demonstrated the processing and purification of its recycled graphite into a product ready for supply chain re-entry, as part of an 18-month feasibility study supported by Innovate UK.

Under the programme, Altilium processed three generations of graphite samples from end-of-life battery waste (black mass), which were successfully upcycled and refined for re-use in new battery anode products.

The pioneering work paves the way for the development of a domestic and sustainable source of low carbon anode material, embracing a circular economy and reducing the UK’s reliance on imported raw materials.

China currently refines over 90% of the world’s graphite and recently announced controls on exports, forcing OEMs and battery manufacturers to explore alternative supply chains. With a growing shortfall in graphite supply expected over the next decade, a shift towards self-sufficiency will be critical for the UK in order to meet the growing needs of new green industries.

According to the Advanced Propulsion Centre’s latest quarterly demand report, UK anode material demand looks set to reach 96,000 MT by 2030, when UK EV production is forecast to reach 1.2m vehicles per year.

Graphite is the largest single material in lithium-ion batteries, comprising up to 50% of a battery by volume. Altilium’s proprietary recycling process can recover over 99% of the graphite from end-of-life EV batteries.

Extensive analytical testing of the recycled graphite has confirmed a good match to primary graphite in areas of purity and physio-chemical characteristics.

Completion of the research has already led to a commercial partnership with battery materials and technology company Talga Group Ltd. Under the agreement, the two companies will focus on optimising the recovery of graphite from battery waste to produce a battery-grade product for use in new anodes.

With the recovery of graphite, Altilium will be able to recycle all the battery components, enabling full battery circularity.

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