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BMW teams up with Northvolt, Umicore for sustainable battery cells

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG has teamed up with Swedish battery maker Northvolt and recycling firm Umicore S.A. to develop a sustainable value chain for battery cells for electric vehicles in Europe, according to an Oct. 15 release.

The companies plan to establish a "closed life cycle loop," in which they start with a recyclable cell design that gets manufactured using a process powered mainly by renewable energy. The next phase is the period of the battery as a drive battery, followed by a phase where the battery is used as a stationary energy storage device.

At the end of the battery cell's life cycle, the companies will recycle it and reuse the raw materials used, completing the "loop."

BMW has made an investment in the alliance to support the initial phase of the collaboration, but it did not disclose the amount.

Northvolt's research facility will be used to test and industrialize the battery cells before production. Umicore will develop active anode and cathode materials apart in addition to recycling the raw materials.

The German carmaker already develops battery cells and plans to set up a new battery cell center in summer 2019. Meanwhile, Umicore already runs a recycling plant for lithium-ion batteries in Europe and plans to build a cathode material manufacturing facility in the region.