Pyry-Mikko Hannula, BATCircle Project manager
September 23, 2019
The first BATCircle Seminar was held on 3 September 2019 in Pori, Finland. The presentations and agenda are available here. The topic of the Seminar was the development of a Finnish battery metals value chain. A wide variety of participants joined from Finnish and European companies from the mining, metals refining, chemical and recycling industries as well as Finnish research groups involved with battery related research.
The Seminar began with a joint lunch followed by presentations from the research organizations and companies. Professor Mari Lundström from Aalto University gave the opening words and an introduction into BATCircle activities: sustainable raw materials, metals refining, recycling, electrode materials and ecosystem business potential. Next, Dr. Pertti Kauranen discussed how BATCircle and Finland are integrated into the European battery networks through European Technology and Innovation Platform (ETIP) BatteRIes Europe, where Finland is chairing the Working Group 2 (WG2) on Raw materials and recycling. So far, WG2 has had two workshops in order to plan the strategy of future research within EU (find the previous WG2 meeting agenda and presentations here). The Seminar presentations were continued by the research organizations in the BATCircle consortium: Aalto University, University of Eastern Finland, University of Oulu, LUT University, Geological Survey of Finland and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland who show-cased their wide ranging research expertise in the field of batteries and related topics.
Next, it was time for the BATCircle companies to present their activities in the field. Jani Kiuru from Finnish Minerals Group discussed about the mismatch in raw materials production vs. demand in the coming decade. There is potential for competitive advantage in Europe by sustainability labeling the whole value-chain from mining to processing and recycling. Jaakko Savolainen from Fortum discussed the topic from another point of view: how recycling of battery materials is needed to ensure a sustainable supply of raw materials. Fortum and Crisolteq have recently partnered up for a new hydrometallurgical recycling process to produce battery chemicals from electrical vehicle batteries. The next speaker was Rasmus Blomqvist from Fennoscandian Resources, a mining company investigating natural graphite deposits in Finland for use as battery anode material. Excitingly, the company’s Aitolampi site has been shown to be able to produce graphite concentrates nearing the high purity specification of 99.95 % required for lithium ion batteries. BASF’s Aleksei Volkov presented the company’s activities in the battery value chain and planned battery materials production in Harjavalta, Finland. BASF focus in this field is on the production of high energy density cathode active materials, such as Nickel-Cobalt-Manganese oxide (NCM). Next presentation was by Tuomas van der Meer from Outotec who gave a comprehensive overview of the company’s technology solutions in the battery value chain from primary to secondary processing. As the final presenter, Pekka Tanskanen detailed Keliber’s plans to become the first company in Europe to produce lithium hydroxide from their own resources. Keliber aims to become one of the low-cost producers of lithium hydroxide in 2021.
A panel discussion was also held with members from the Advisory Board including Olli Salmi from EIT RawMaterials, Nani Pajunen from Sitra, Oluf Bockman from Glencore Nikkelverk and Arsi Saukkola from Kuusakoski. The topics in the discussion varied from Nordic co-operation as a way to have a more significant global impact on the battery market to the need for more funding in the battery material related projects. Sustainability tracing was also discussed as a topic that has been gaining more interest recently. The safe recycling of scrapped and end-of-life batteries was another important issue that was addressed in terms of securing the raw material supply. The Seminar concluded with a cocktail event hosted by the city of Pori at the city hall before dinner hosted by Outotec, Nornickel and Boliden.
The organizers kindly thank all the participants and hosts for inspiring discussions and a successful Seminar! The next BATCircle Seminar will be held in March 2020 and invitations will be sent during autumn 2019.