Glencore, FCC, and Iberdrola partner to provide lithium-ion battery circularity solutions for Spain and Portugal
- Glencore is one of the world's largest natural resource companies and a major producer, recycler and marketer of battery metals.
- The exponential adoption of electric vehicles will lead to a rapid increase in battery retirements, which will be around 35,000 metric tonnes per year in Spain by 2035.
- This collaboration reinforces the circular economy strategies of FCC and Iberdrola, which are already working to address the recycling of wind turbine blades.
Glencore, FCC Ámbito and Iberdrola are pleased to announce their intention to partner to provide lithium-ion battery recycling solutions at scale for Spain and Portugal. The aim is to tackle one of the biggest medium to long-term challenges in the sector, recycling of lithium-ion batteries through the establishment of a purpose-built facility. This would include second life repurposing as well as true end of life recycling solutions.
FCC Ámbito is a subsidiary of FCC Servicios Medio Ambiente that is the Iberian leader in comprehensive management of industrial and commercial waste.
Iberdrola is a global renewable energy leader, and through its PERSEO Venture Builder programme aims to facilitate access to the technologies of the future with a focus on sustainability.
Glencore is one of the world’s largest global diversified natural resources companies and a major producer, recycler, and marketer of key battery metals. One of Glencore’s key strategic goals is accelerating circularity of critical minerals, especially those needed for the transition to a low carbon economy.
Together, the parties intend to combine their respective experience and expertise to offer comprehensive recycling and second life solutions for lithium-ion batteries, both from gigafactory production scrap and end-of-life batteries.
In collaboration with the Iberian Energy Storage Research Centre (CIIAE, Centro Ibérico de Investigación en Almacenamiento Energético), the intended partners have assessed existing battery recycling capabilities, and feed availability in the region. They continue to work towards identifying the location for the recycling facility, which will be supported by sector leading technology. The facility will be operated by FCC Ámbito and will focus on the pre-processing of lithium-ion batteries and battery scrap, separating such feed into distinct streams for further downstream refining and recovery of battery metals.
With the increasing sales of electric vehicles comes the requirement for recycling their batteries once they have reached their true end of life. The recycling of battery materials is expected to reach c.35,000 tonnes annually in Spain by 2035 including production scrap.
Kunal Sinha, Global Head of Recycling, Glencore, commented:
“We are delighted to be part of this alliance on battery circularity with Iberdrola, a world leader in renewable energy, and the FCC Servicios Medio Ambiente, the leader in waste management services for Spain and Portugal. Together, we aim to leverage the individual strengths of each company to bring circularity to the lithium-ion battery ecosystem across Spain and Portugal. It also supports our ambition to grow our recycling business in new markets. We are particularly thrilled to launch this project in Spain where Glencore has been operating one of the world’s largest zinc smelters since 1960.
“At Glencore, we view production scrap as well as post-consumer materials as a valuable resource that will help supply the increasing demand for critical metals in support of the energy transition and the world’s net zero ambition.”
María J. Kaifer, Technical Director and Head of Circular Economy, FCC Ámbito, highlighted:
“With this collaboration, our firm continues to pursue its strategic growth objectives, which it has been working on, such as the development of recycling solutions for materials from the energy transition.
This is one step forward in our efforts to recover the resources contained in the waste and to minimize the dependence on raw materials.
The recycling of lithium-ion batteries is a challenge that we face together with two leading companies in their sectors, Iberdrola and Glencore, in order to join efforts to guarantee the necessary recycling capabilities.”
Álvaro Portellano, Global Head of PERSEO Venture Builder, Iberdrola, remarked:
"With a two-decade leadership in the global renewable energy industry and the transition to a decarbonize economy, sustainable business models are at the core of our strategy. At Iberdrola we regard this new cooperation as a valuable opportunity to continue closing the loop in the circularity of the energy transition we are helping to shape, while expanding our successful collaboration with FCC that is already addressing the wind blade recycling.
In 2020, Iberdrola’s PERSEO Venture Builder programme was launched to promote the development of innovative industries, such as those involved with circular economy. In that regard, we are excited to combine that aim with the strengths and capabilities of Glencore and FCC, global leaders in the natural resources and the waste management industries, respectively, to lead the lithium-ion battery recycling in the Iberian Peninsula.”
ALIGNED WITH FCC ENVIRONMENT'S SUSTAINABILITY STRATEGY 2050
FCC Ámbito has extensive experience in the recycling and marketing of secondary raw materials. The incorporation of new technologies in this project will allow FCC Ámbito to consolidate and position itself as a key player in the country's circular economy, a fundamental pillar of FCC Environment's 2050 Sustainability Strategy. This strategy consists of a 30-year business development roadmap that integrates very demanding objectives and commitments with high added value for the company and society as a whole, and which are grouped into four lines of action: environmental, social, excellence and good governance.
FCC Ámbito is a subsidiary of FCC Servicios Medio Ambiente specialising in the comprehensive management of industrial and commercial waste, recovery of by-products and decontamination of soil. It has a total of 39 treatment centres in Spain and Portugal, with more than 67 processing lines that guarantee the performance of the facilities.
CIRCULAR ECONOMY, AT THE CORE OF IBERDROLA’S SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MODEL
This collaboration, which responds to Iberdrola’s commitment to a sustainable energy model, is part of its PERSEO Venture Builder programme to promote the development of innovative industrial companies working in new areas of electrification and in sectors that are challenging to decarbonise.
Iberdrola defines its circular economy strategy as a process that affects its entire value chain, both its own production processes and those of its suppliers and customers. The group prioritises the contracting of companies with environmental management systems and, together with its suppliers, promotes eco-design, the analysis of the life cycle of products and the use of materials with a low environmental impact.
The company also promotes a circular economy by reducing the use of natural resources through its commitment to decarbonisation and electrification, and the more sustainable use of natural resources by promoting the use of more efficient and cleaner technologies and processes. It also encourages research to develop solutions for the use of waste and promotes responsible consumption with environmental awareness programmes.
GLENCORE – RECYCLING TOWARDS A CIRCULAR ECONOMY
We recognise our responsibility to contribute to the global effort to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement by decarbonising our own operational footprint. We believe that we should take a holistic approach and have considered our commitment through the lens of our global industrial emissions. Against a 2019 baseline, we are committed to reducing our Scope 1, 2 and 3 industrial emissions by 15% by the end of 2026, 50% by the end of 2035 and we have an ambition to achieve net zero industrial emissions by the end of 2050. For more detail see our 2022 Climate Report on the publication page of our website at glencore.com/publications.
This collaboration strengthens Glencore’s recycling platform, providing infrastructure to contribute to the objectives of a circular economy. Across its industrial assets, Glencore has over 75 years of experience in the recycling business and actively recycles copper, nickel, cobalt, zinc, and precious metals. By responsibly recycling these metals, we contribute to the circular economy, diverting materials from landfill and helping to reduce environmental impacts. With the goal to expanding our recycling footprint across the commodity complex, we are looking to invest in capacity expansions in our core markets of Europe and North America, and to enter new markets that currently lack formal and responsible recycling outlets for end-of-life materials. We are looking to significantly expand our role within recycling across the broader decarbonisation metals chain. There is increasing recognition of the need to increase the use of secondary metals, which our recycling business is well placed to help meet.