Umicore Recognized As One of Europe's Most Eco-Innovative Companies

Top Quote The global company takes first place in the Process Category for recycling technology. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) May 30, 2012 - Umicore was recognized as one of Europe's most eco-innovative companies during the European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE) event, which took place in Brussels during Green Week 2012. Umicore won first place in the Process Category for its 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.

    Umicore's recycling process uses its patented Ultra High Temperature (UHT) smelting technology. This creates 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."

    About the EBAE: The European Business Awards for the Environment are designed to recognize 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. For more information: www.businessawardseurope.com.

    About Umicore: Umicore is a global materials technology group. It focuses on application areas where its expertise in materials science, chemistry, and metallurgy makes a real difference. Its activities are centered on four business areas: Catalysis, Energy Materials, Performance Materials and Recycling. Each business area is divided into market-focused business units offering materials and solutions that are at the cutting edge of new technological developments and essential to everyday life. Umicore generates the majority of its revenues and dedicates most of its R&D efforts to clean technologies, such as emission control catalysts, materials for rechargeable batteries and photovoltaics, fuel cells, and recycling. Umicore's overriding goal of sustainable value creation is based on an ambition to develop, produce and recycle materials in a way that fulfills its mission: materials for a better life. The Umicore Group has industrial operations on all continents and serves a global customer base; it generated a turnover of 14.5 billion ( 2.3 billion excluding metal) in 2011 and currently employs some 14,600 people. For more information: www.umicore.com.

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