León home to the Iberian Peninsula’s first electric vehicle battery recycling plant

Endesa and Urbaser are promoting the construction of a facility in Cubillos del Sil (León) with the capacity to treat 8,000 tonnes per annum. The new recycling plant is part of Endesa’s Futur-e Plan, recently approved by the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Regional Government of Castilla y León. The plant will be operational by the end of 2023 and could create around 50 new jobs.

The first electric vehicle battery recycling plant on the Iberian Peninsula will be located in Cubillos del Sil (León) and will come into operation at the end of 2023, as a result of an Endesa initiative, in partnership with Urbaser. With investment of 13 million euros, the facility is part of Endesa’s Futur-e Plan, through which the energy company will mitigate the decommissioning of the Cubillos del Sil (León) thermal power plant, already in the process of being dismantled.

The new battery recycling plant is one of seven projects recently approved by the Ministry for Ecological Transition, the Regional Government of Castilla y León, the municipalities of Ponferrada and Cubillos del Sil, the University of León and Endesa.

The electric vehicle battery recycling plant represents a firm commitment to sustainable development and environmental protection through the circular economy.  The new joint venture will manage the collection of electric vehicle batteries in Spain and Portugal, and safe temporary storage and shipment of these batteries to Cubillos del Sil for subsequent treatment.

The circularity of this partnership lies in the activity itself: reuse and recovery. At the new facilities in Cubillos del Sil, batteries will be adapted for reuse where possible. The remaining batteries will be electrically discharged and disassembled prior to undergoing a separation and shredding process. This process will enable recycling of materials such as plastics, aluminium and copper, as well as the “black-mass”, which constitutes the fraction rich in strategic metals, of great value in Europe, such as cobalt and nickel, both of which are essential for the manufacture of new batteries.

The project schedule has been defined with the aim of starting construction work as soon as possible to enable the plant to be operational by the end of 2023. The logistics activity will commence beforehand, so that the collection, transport and storage of the batteries, in safe conditions, can be brought forward to guarantee the necessary volume to enable the plant to start up at full capacity when it goes into operation. These activities will generate around 50 direct jobs, in addition to a number of indirect jobs yet to be quantified. The plant, with an estimated annual treatment capacity of 8,000 tonnes of electric batteries, will meet the demand for recycling in both Spain and Portugal.

With a budget of almost 13 million euros, this project is part of the circular economy actions that Endesa has incorporated into its strategy. The development of this project has been sought by both the Spanish Government and the European Union, through the Recovery Funds.

Although the very nature of the new plant guarantees its viability, the capacities and strengths of its developers, Urbaser and Endesa, certify the arrival of a leading recycling facility in the Iberian Peninsula.