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Guest contributor: Driving ahead with transport change

With the transport sector accelerating towards a greener future, the need for sustainable power has never been more important. And one company helping the transition is Altilium Metals. The firm is bringing a 250-job plant to the Tees Valley, which will recycle elements from spent battery waste into key components for new power packs. Here, Dr Christian Marston, the business’ co-founder, reveals more about its ambitions, and why the Tees Valley was an obvious choice for its factory.


200 years after the region’s coal and iron helped to build the industrial world, the North East is once again at the forefront of an industrial revolution. 

From Nissan’s flagship electric vehicle plant and Envision AESC’s new gigafactory in Sunderland, to the UK’s first lithium refinery in Teesside, the region is leading the charge to position the UK as a global player in the new green energy economy.

This spirit of innovation, coupled with the rich industrial history of the Tees Valley, is a big part of the reason why Altilium Metals chose Teesside as the location for an ambitious new project that will also play a big part in achieving the UK’s net-zero ambitions, as well as attracting jobs and investment to the region.

With more than a million electric vehicles on our roads, the UK is at the forefront of the transition to greener transport, and the shift from an energy sector based on fossil fuels to one based on minerals. 

However, nearly 100 per cent of the components required for electric vehicle batteries are manufactured overseas, with China dominating the supply chain for critical metals such as lithium, cobalt and nickel.

With soaring demand for these elements, the UK finds itself increasingly reliant on global supply chains that are vulnerable to disruption. 

While domestic mining projects might help to meet some of that demand, a more sustainable solution lies in recovering these metals from the tsunami wave of used batteries that is heading our way.

Today, Altilium Metals is the only company in the UK capable of recovering these critical metals from spent electric vehicle battery waste. 

Our proprietary technology works to recover more than 95 per cent of the critical minerals and rare earth elements from end-of-life batteries, which can then be reintroduced into the supply chain to build new battery cells here in the UK.

Choosing Teesside as the location for our first UK recycling plant, capable of processing battery waste from 150,000 electric vehicles per year, was a no-brainer. 

With its world-class workforce, fast and efficient logistics, zero-carbon electricity and a freeport, the region has everything our business needs to succeed.

With this investment of more than £500 million, Teesside will become the centre of a new sustainable supply chain for battery chemicals, helping to drive down costs and carbon emissions, while also providing the energy security needed to attract investment in new automotive gigafactories. In March, we will complete our feasibility study on the plant, and more details of the chosen site will be announced soon. 

We expect to create 250 highly-skilled jobs at the plant, with thousands more created in build phase, and we look forward to supporting economic growth in the region and building on its proud tradition of innovation and invention.

March 5, 2023

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