Mobility Portal, Spain
Date: January 31, 2024
Inés Platini
By Inés Platini

BeePlanet Factory demands equality in the battery recycling market rules

In an exclusive interview with Mobility Portal España, Jon Asin, co-founder of BeePlanet Factory, discusses the challenges faced by the company in the second-life battery sector for electric vehicles.

Since 2018, BeePlanet Factory designs and manufactures sustainable storage systems utilizing second-life electric vehicle batteries

These batteries retain a substantial storage capacity, ranging between 70 and 90 percent, and deliver high performance, making them perfectly functional for various applications.

The challenge faced by the company in this market is to provide a competitive and economical product, especially considering the strong competition from Chinese battery brands.

According to Jon Asin, Manager and Co-founder of the company, in an exclusive interview with Mobility Portal España, the ideal situation in the market would be for all actors to operate under the same production conditions.

“Chinese state subsidies distort the playing field,” Asin highlights.

Europe holds significant potential, although it faces challenges in competing with the market for affordable vehicles driven by the Asian country.

In response to this situation, the European Commission is conducting an investigation into China for the aid it provides to electric vehicle production.

The European Union considers this as “unfair practice” that distorts the EU market.

This phenomenon appears to be reflected across the low and zero-emission car production sector.

However, Asin asserts, “We believe that the competition for battery reuse will be won, thanks to the projected volume of second-life batteries being enormous.”

In Europe alone, a capacity of 35 gigawatt-hours is expected by 2030, equivalent to the batteries of approximately 700,000 cars each year.

So, the challenge not only falls on recycling companies but also on society, which will be forced to make decisions regarding the handling of 700,000 annual batteries.

This scenario can already be observed in “electric vehicle cemeteries” in China.

In recent years, it has been noticed that in some locations in the country, electric cars are piling up due to users choosing to abandon them, causing negative effects on the ecosystem.

This raises concerns among industry stakeholders as well as officials and citizens in the affected areas.

To preempt this issue, the EU has adopted regulations with specific goals to improve the production, use, treatment, and recycling of batteries.

This regulation strengthens sustainability regulations applicable to batteries and their waste. The aim is to facilitate their extraction and replacement to address social and environmental risks within the EU.

This approach promotes a circular economy by regulating batteries throughout their life cycle.

At this point, BeePlanet Factory stands out, being a pioneer in Europe in the manufacturing and network installation of energy storage systems using second-life batteries from electric vehicles.

Currently, the company has a capacity of approximately 20 megawatts, allowing it to transform about 500 cars per year.

“The expectation for this year is to sell at least 30 MWh,” assures Asin.

BeePlanet Factory.

BeePlanet Factory to Establish Battery Recycling Plant in Navarra

In anticipation of the growing demand for electric vehicle battery recycling, BeePlanet Factory has formalized an agreement with SungEel HiTech, collaborating with other prominent companies such as Medenasa, Truck&Wheel-TW Group, Sodena, and Samsung C&T, enhancing the contribution of the South Korean component.

This Joint Venture is named Beecycle Reuse & Recycling S.L.

Together, they will collaborate on the reuse and recycling of lithium-ion batteries from electric vehicles, constructing a plant with a capacity of 10,000 TPY of black mass in the town of Caparroso, in the Comunidad Foral de Navarra, with the startup planned for 2025.

This quantity is equivalent to recycling the batteries of 25,000 cars annually, representing an investment of 18.5 million euros.

In this context, they have recently received a subsidy of 1.6 million euros under the PERTE VEC II framework.

The total eligible budget for the project is nearly 11 million euros.

The project includes the hiring of 60-70 employees responsible for processing both end-of-life batteries and scrap from cell manufacturing.

“It is expected that construction will begin in late 2024, and the plant’s execution time will take approximately one year to be operational by late 2025,” details Asin.

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