German copper heavyweight Aurubis to enter e-car battery recycling market
Copper producer Aurubis from Hamburg will enter the budding e-car battery recycling market and plans to open an industrial-scale pilot plant within the next five years, Volker Mester writes in the Hamburger Abendblatt. CEO Roland Harings told the newspaper that the rapidly growing battery production industry in Europe and elsewhere causes “considerable amounts” of recyclable material that have led the company to strive for “a leading role” in the e-car recycling market. Aurubis just achieved the most profitable year in the company’s history, “but without the scarcity of some materials and primary industrial products, business could have been even better,” Harings said. Although the company noticed a slight decrease in demand from car companies, the growing production of e-cars is partly setting off lower demand due to the fact the vehicles contain far more copper than combustion engine cars. The company, which is Hamburg’s second biggest electricity consumer, aims to become carbon neutral “significantly earlier than 2050,” betting on green hydrogen as the key to its decarbonisation ambitions. It added that trial runs for replacing natural gas with the synthetic alternative had produced encouraging results.
The recycling of old e-car batteries and other discarded materials, such as wind turbine rotors or solar panels, are posing challenges for Germany’s plans to establish a cleaner economy running on net-zero emissions and efficient resource use. But companies aiming for better recycling procedures to utilise valuable resources contained in batteries and other products, such as copper, rare earth minerals or cobalt multiple times have made great strides in establishing more circular production chains in recent years, hoping to unlock a vast market in the making.