The 23rd International Congress for Battery Recycling (ICBR) 2018, which will take place Sept. 26-28, 2018, in Berlin, will feature keynote speakers Kerstin Kuchta, professor at Hamburg University of Technology; Didier Marginèdes, director of Blue Solutions, Ergué-Gabéric, France; and Gudula Schwan, German Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Berlin.
In fall 2017, the Switzerland-based conference organizer, ICM AG, opened a call for papers, searching for contributions on topics such as battery recycling technologies, materials supply in a circular economy and transport and safety.
“This 23rd edition of the ICBR has raised interest among many new actors in the field of battery recycling,” says Jean-Pol Wiaux, chairman of the ICBR Steering Committee. “Proposals for papers reflect the battery industry’s diversification and growth. Recycling has become an inevitable part of the discussion between the parties concerned as EU environmental and economic policy moves towards a circular economy.”
Wiaux says the three keynote speakers will open the congress, addressing progress in their respective fields: Kuchta will discuss the role of batteries in a circular economy; Marginèdes will review the effect of electric mobility on new market demand for car manufacturers; and Schwan will address the importance of controlling hazards and monitoring risks when transporting batteries for recycling.
“The battery recycling industry has operated in Europe for more than 50 years. During the last 20 years it has adapted to many technological cycles, including lead-acid and primary alkaline battery recycling, but also nickel-cadmium and nickel metal hydride processing as well as more recently dealing with lithium primary and lithium-ion rechargeable types,” Wiaux reports.
The keynote speakers reflect the topics of the conference, which include:
- pressure from the EU Environment Authority;
- pressure from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs);
- the recently launched European Battery Alliance;
- the move toward a circular economy;
- review of the EU Batteries Directive;
- battery recycling technologies; and
- safety Issues.
Wiaux says the move from a linear to a circular economy is “a big push for recyclers,” but they must operate on a globally competitive technical and business basis. He also says the EU Authority must clarify the “equivalent performances” concept and its enforcement as it calculates recycling efficiency.
Conflicting parameters affect the battery recycling business, Wiaux says, including the low return rate of end-of-life batteries, the un-fixed chemistry of lithium rechargeable batteries and the number of advanced batteries processed without fully balancing costs against the value of the recovered materials.
“Factors such as re-use and second life may also impact the volume of returned batteries. Innovative business models offered by OEMs to control the flow of batteries at the end-of-life stage and secure access to raw materials and stable battery pricing are necessary,” Wiaux says. “Last year, industry barometer initiative results showed an optimistic trend in the battery recycling business arena. This year we will again present to participants our battery recycling industry barometer. The results will be interesting.”
The ICBR traditionally offers an opportunity to meet with industry partners. Plant tours from Nickelhütte Aue GmbH, Aue, Germany; and Electrocycling GmbH, Goslar, Germany, will be offered to participants.