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Circulor partners with Rock Tech Lithium to aid European lithium refinery

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Global Mining Review,

Circulor has announced a comprehensive partnership with Rock Tech Lithium and Fraunhofer UMSICHT to ensure the production of German-made lithium hydroxide with the lowest possible environmental impact.

London-headquartered Circulor will ensure traceability and dynamic CO2 tracking for Rock Tech’s plant in Brandenburg, which is expected to produce 24 000 tpy of lithium hydroxide – enough for the batteries of half a million electric vehicles. Circulor’s work will precede the EU’s battery regulation, which takes effect as early as 2024.

“A sustainable and resilient raw material supply chain is increasingly important to our automotive customers, and we are proud to work with Rock Tech to deliver their product with clear proof of origin and embedded CO2 emissions,” explains Circulor CEO and founder Douglas Johnson-Poensgen. “As the automotive industry prepares for the EU Battery Directive and battery passport provisions, we’re very pleased to support Rock Tech in pioneering low-carbon, European-produced lithium hydroxide.”

“With the holistic documentation of our value chain, we create a decisive added value for our customers,” says Rock Tech Lithium CEO Markus Brügmann. “Customers have information about the origin and life cycle assessment of our lithium hydroxide at all times. Based on the work of Circulor and Fraunhofer UMSICHT, Rock Tech will create a material passport for its product.”

“Fraunhofer UMSICHT will carry out the life cycle assessment (LCA) of Rock Tech’s production processes. Extensive collection and analysis of their data not only allows Rock Tech to make the production of lithium hydroxide more sustainable, but also supports them in implementing subsequent process optimisations in the most energy and environmentally friendly way possible,” says Dr. Ilka Gehrke, head of the Environment and Resources department at Fraunhofer UMSICHT. Specialising in climate neutral energy systems and circular products, Fraunhofer UMSICHT is part of Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Europe’s largest organisation for applied research and development services.

The Rock Tech and Circulor partnership also entails traceability and CO2 tracking for Rock Tech’s planned recycling at the facility, aiming to become Europe’s first closed-loop supplier of lithium hydroxide. Currently, only one percent of lithium from batteries is recycled worldwide. By 2030, Rock Tech Lithium aims to achieve 50% of its materials to come from recycled batteries.

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