Formula E teams up with Umicore to start battery recycling programme

Here at the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, we’re keen on keeping things green, which is why we’ve teamed up with Belgian materials technology and recycling pros Umicore to recycle the lithium-ion battery units and cells used in the cars during our first two seasons.

The batteries, created by Williams Advanced Engineering, have been collected and are already in the recycling process, which comprises of sorting, dismantling and recycling. Here, the valuable metals are carefully recovered using proprietary and unique smelting technology - followed by hydrometallurgical treatment. 

“This is an important moment for Formula E and I’m grateful to be partnering with Umicore on this initiative,” said Formula E Founder & CEO Alejandro Agag.

“Sustainability is at the core of both companies, and to be able to recycle our battery cells with a closed loop approach means we’re doing our utmost to limit the impact we have on the environment - while promoting a wider message of clean mobility.”

The metals in the battery are infinitely recyclable, without losing any of their properties. After the batteries are carefully taken apart - using methods to ensure the environment isn’t exposed to hazardous compounds - the metals and metal alloys will be used again in new rechargeable batteries or other products.

“It’s an honour for Umicore to demonstrate our closed loop business approach for the lithium-ion batteries in Formula E,” said Kurt Vandeputte, Senior Vice-President Rechargeable Battery Materials Umicore.

“After introducing our battery materials expertise as technology partner with Mahindra Racing in the championship, we’re excited to now also offer our ‘closing the battery loop’ sustainable recycling solution for the end-of-life batteries of season one and two.”

Umicore is one of only a few companies in the world to offer a complete recycling journey. The company’s unique ‘closed loop’ approach for lithium-ion rechargeable batteries ensures there’s minimal waste, which lessens the impact on the environment, which is crucial as more and more people opt for electric vehicles.

Umicore is a pioneer in providing clean and ethically sourced materials to those in the rechargeable battery value chain with. The company has been ranked seventh in the 2019 top-100 of the world’s most sustainable companies published by Corporate Knights.

“Williams Advanced Engineering has long been leading the way on electrification of racing and sustainable transport, which can only be truly sustainable if the products involved are recyclable,” said Paul McNamara, Technical Director of Williams Advanced Engineering.

“The team at Williams Advanced Engineering takes great pride in its foundational role enabling the launch and development of Formula E across its first four seasons, with batteries that ran at better than 99.5 per cent race reliability. We congratulate Formula E on the unveiling of this initiative.”