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Initiatives and Case Studies

Long-Life Lithium Batteries (LLLB) Centre of Excellence

The Long-Life Lithium Battery (LLLB) innovation demonstration project aims to identify and isolate damaged modules from existing waste lithium battery flows in Ireland and investigate the potential for refurbishment and reuse of undamaged modules. LLLB is a pilot partnership between WEEE Ireland, KMK Metals Recycling and Wisetek Solutions.

WEEE Ireland Initiative / WEEE Ireland & Partners / Batteries / Reuse

Key Findings

  • The training and experience gained by KMK Metals Recycling has created an opportunity for a long-term solution for the dismantling and recycling of EV batteries in Ireland.  
  • The project has introduced considerable cost savings and resource recovery in Ireland, and a reduced carbon footprint by minimising the volume of exported materials.
  • The upscaling of this project will add to the Irish economy, potentially creating further employment opportunities as the volume of EV batteries reach end of life or replacement.

Summary

The use of lithium batteries continues to increase in Ireland, incorporated into more technology devices, household appliances, and other consumer equipment as well as powering new e-mobility, electric vehicle, and energy storage solutions. Lithium batteries have an extended life span of at least seven years, so large volumes of these batteries have yet to arise as waste.

The potential for high energy discharge remains when end users have discarded these batteries and devices, so proper environmental management is important. Currently waste and damaged lithium batteries arising in Ireland must be shipped elsewhere in Europe for downstream recycling and recovery at high cost, with health and safety concerns due to the potential energy still contained after their first use phase. This energy potential however means there is a circular opportunity for reuse and remanufacturing of waste lithium batteries here in Ireland.

The Long-Life Lithium Battery (LLLB) innovation fund project sought to identify and isolate damaged modules from existing waste lithium battery flows in Ireland and investigate the potential for refurbishment and reuse of undamaged modules. It is envisaged that through training of battery operatives in Ireland, it would be possible to develop a new skillset and knowledge base for environmental management of these batteries in Ireland.

The LLLB Innovation project, while led by WEEE Ireland, is run in partnership with KMK Metals Recycling and fellow CIRCULÉIRE Founding Member Wisetek.