Stellantis aims for this project to strengthen its EV battery value chain in its all-electric push.
Stellantis and Orano have recently announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish a joint venture for recycling end-of-life EV batteries, in addition to scrap from its gigafactories in Europe and North America. This project has been kick-started by the automotive conglomerate to strengthen its position in the EV battery value chain, in the hopes of securing additional access to cobalt, nickel, and lithium necessary for its imminent electrification and energy transition.
This joint venture primarily focuses on capitalising Orano’s innovative low-carbon process for the recovery of all materials from lithium-ion batteries, and the subsequent manufacturing of new cathode materials. This process apparently will produce materials known as ‘black mass’ or ‘active mass’, which can be refined in Orano’s hydrometallurgical plant to be built in Dunkirk, France, such that the materials could once again be re-used in batteries, that in turn thus closes the loop of a circular economy.
Courtesy of its innovative pre-treatment approach and cutting-edge hydrometallurgy technology, the French nuclear fuel cycle company quotes for the recovery rates of metals to reach exceptional levels of over 90%. This thus enables OEMs to reach European Commission levels of recycling rate into batteries of electric vehicles and ensure the sustainability of the business model.
Speaking in the context of Stellantis meanwhile, this new commercial recycling project will be able to provide its partners, its after-sales network, and other OEMs with a solution to manage end-of-life batteries and scrap from gigafactories. Production is currently slated begin in the first part of 2026 subject to agreement on definitive documentation, with existing Stellantis assets and facilities being reused for this project.
“The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals has confirmed the need to find solutions like this one with Orano to meet the challenge of natural resource scarcity and sustainability,” said Stellantis Senior Vice President, Circular Economy Business Unit, Alison Jones. “Guided by our Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan, Stellantis is committed to shifting its production and consumption model by fulfilling its circular economy commitment.”
“We are delighted with this partnership with a major player such as Stellantis to work together in the recycling of used electric batteries,” said Orano Group Director of Innovation, R&D and Nuclear Medicine, Magnets and Batteries, Guillaume Dureau. “We are proud to bring our expertise and know-how with our innovative and disruptive process which allows a real closed loop. Orano continues its commitment to developing a low-carbon economy with the recycling of strategic materials for the energy transition and the circular economy.”
As part of Stellantis’ ambitious EV-centric Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan, its Circular Economy Business Unit is pushing to increase recycling revenues by ten times and achieve more than €2 billion in total circular economy revenues by 2030. The automotive conglomerate currently claims to be on track in becoming a carbon net zero corporation by 2038, with single-digit percentage compensation of remaining emissions.