Mercedes-Benz says it is investing a ‘double-digit million euro amount’ in the construction of the balance sheet CO2-neutral plant

Mercedes-Benz has celebrated its groundbreaking ceremony for a new battery recycling factory in Kuppenheim, Germany.

The first stage of the plant, which is mechanical dismantling of electric vehicle batteries, is scheduled to start ramping up at the end of this year. A hydrometallurgy pilot plant will be established a few months later, subject to the outcome of discussions with the public sector.

Mercedes-Benz says it is investing a ‘double-digit million euro amount’ in the construction of the balance sheet CO2-neutral plant, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection as part of a scientific research project.

Michael Brecht, chairman of the Works Council of the joint operation Gaggenau, to which the Kuppenheim plant belongs, said: “With the battery recycling factory, Mercedes-Benz is gathering important know-how in the field of circular economy and is also laying the foundation for new, sustainable jobs that can be further expanded if the operation is successful. In the future, the company will become less dependent on raw material supplies.”

Looking to the future, the Kuppenheim factory is set to cover every step from dismantling at the module level, to shredding and drying and processing of battery-grade materials.

The hydrometallurgy process, with a recovery rate of more than 96%, enables a circular economy of battery materials, says Mercedes-Benz. The company is cooperating with technology partner Primobius, which is a joint venture of German mechanical engineering company SMS group and Australian project developer Neometals.

The battery recycling process is also taken into account, from the development of logistics concepts, through to the sustainable recycling of valuable raw materials, to the reintegration of recyclates into the production of new batteries.

The pilot plant is expected to have an annual capacity of 2,500 tonnes. The recovered materials will be fed back into the recycling loop to produce more than 50,000 battery modules for new Mercedes-Benz models. Production volumes could be scaled up in the medium to long term, based on the findings of the pilot factory.