Umicore wins at the European Business Awards for the Environment

Regional website Germany

Umicore has been recognized as one of Europe’s most eco-innovative companies at the European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE), taking place in Brussels at Green Week 2012.

Umicore won first place in the process category for its unique rechargeable battery recycling technology. Umicore’s process permits the recycling of valuable elements such as cobalt, nickel, copper and rare earth elements from spent rechargeable batteries and other waste streams in an environmentally sound way. An industrial-scale pilot plant has been operational in Hoboken, Belgium, since September 2011.

The pilot plant has an initial annual capacity equivalent to some 150,000 (hybrid) electric vehicle batteries or 250 million mobile phone batteries. This market is anticipated to gain momentum, driven by a combination of intensifying recycling legislation, a continuously growing portable electronics market and an increasing share of hybrid and electric vehicles on the roads.

The innovative recycling process uses Umicore’s patented Ultra High Temperature (UHT) smelting technology, enabling a cost efficient and environmentally sound battery recycling process with the highest recovery rates and with minimal waste. The facility will enable Umicore to offer a range of new recycling services including a closed materials loop for battery producers. In addition, the technology will permit Umicore to test its suitability for recycling other new streams of materials.

The jury’s view: “In line with the Raw Materials Initiative and Batteries Directive, this project facilitates the recycling of all types of batteries together, without mechanical disassembling, thereby avoiding the release of dusts and organics into the atmosphere.”

Sybolt Brouwer, head of Umicore Battery Recycling said: “I’m very proud that we received one of the prestigious European Business Awards for the Environment. This is a recognition of Umicore’s sustainable business strategy and our contribution on an environmental, societal and economic level.”

Note to editors

The European Business Awards for the Environment are designed to recognise and promote organizations that make an outstanding contribution to sustainable development. The awards highlight policies, practices, processes and products from all sectors of business in the European Union that help to achieve ‘economic and social development without detriment to the environment and natural resources upon the quality of which continued human activity and further development depend’.

Following a two-day jury meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, the nominees for the European Business Awards for the Environment were announced on 19 March 2012. From a total of 156 entries, 14 companies were nominated across the five award categories. This year's nominees come from nine EU Member States – Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Portugal, Slovakia, Finland and the United Kingdom.

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