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Reuse and recycling of lithium batteries: Regional HUB for the Circular Economy of Lombardy Region

On October the 10th 2022, the first live meeting of the Regional Hub EcoCIRC “Collaboration agreement for the realization of an innovative regional pilot infrastructure supporting the transition to the Circular Economy” funded by the Lombardy Region took place at the facilities of the Department of Mechanical Engineering of Politecnico di Milano. The initiative sees the collaboration between five Lombardy Region research institutes and universities, namely Politecnico di Milano, that coordinates the project, Universita’ degli Studi Di Milano, Università degli Studi Di Milano-Bicocca, Universita’ Degli Studi Di Pavia, and Cnr-Stiima. For Polimi, teams of 4 Departments are involved, namely the Department of Mechanical Engineering (coordinator), the Department of Energy, the Department of Management Engineering and the  Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemistry Engineering “Giulio Natta”. The initiative provides 5 million € funding, 3.2 million € dedicated to Politecnico di Milano, for the acquisition of innovative research infrastructure targeting key components of e-vehicles, including batteries, mechatronic components, composites and techno-polymers, as well as lightweight metal parts. The infrastructure is accompanied by an ambitious research project that propose cutting-edge research activities exploiting the acquired infrastructure to demonstrate the technical feasibility and the economic viability of a circular economy approach for the e-mobility sector.
During the meeting, the launch of the in-progress MeccPolimi laboratory took place. Within EcoCirc, MeccPolimi is expanding the technical capabilities of the existing inter-departmental lab Circ-eV, fully focused on circular economy solutions for batteries, to the other e-vehicle components. For example, a High-Voltage Fragmentation system for composite recycling, a semi-automated robotic disassembly/re-assembly line for electric drives, a Hyperspectral Imaging system for the on-line characterization of different material mixtures, a press for reverse forming of metal sheets, as well as a cold-spray technology for remanufacturing metal parts have been acquired. Thanks to the 3.2 million € co-funding provided by the Lombardy Region the researchers at MeccPolimi will enhance the technical capability to support the local and European eco-systems in the effective transition towards new circular economy business cases, thus contributing to sustainable development worldwide.