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Recycling rate of up to 95 percent

The KION Group aims to continuously improve the sustainability of its products and solutions. Through a strategic partnership, lithium-ion batteries will be recycled via a complex process to recover the most essential materials. To implement this, KION is cooperating with Li-Cycle Holdings Corp., which is building a new plant in the Magdeburg area.


KION Group has entered a strategic partnership with Li-Cycle Holdings Corp. (“Li-Cycle”) , an industry leader in lithium-ion battery resource recovery. The corresponding agreement was signed in KION’s headquarters in Frankfurt and is valid until 2030.

Starting the second half of 2023, lithium-ion batteries, technology that the KION Group brands (Linde Material Handling, Dematic, STILL, and Baoli) are bringing to the market worldwide with their electrically powered industrial trucks and automated warehouse logistics solutions –will be recycled in an environmentally friendly manner. With this new partnership, the KION Group can ensure that the most essential materials from the supplied lithium-ion batteries can be recovered. Recycling will initially be carried out in a new Li-Cycle recycling plant in the Magdeburg area with expansion into other countries, including France.

Role model in the intralogistics branch

“With this strategic partnership, we are taking an important step towards the circular economy that we want to implement for our products,” said Henry Puhl, Chief Technology Officer of the KION GROUP. “The collaboration with Li-Cycle will further strengthen our position in the area of sustainability.” Andreas Krinninger, KION member of the Executive Board, and responsible for the Industrial Trucks & Services segment, sums up the benefits: “The process enables up to 95 percent of the mass of a lithium-ion battery to be recovered and the critical minerals contained in those batteries to be used to manufacture new batteries. This makes us one of the pioneers in the material handling industry in the field of recovery and recycling of modern lithium-ion batteries.”

The recycling process

“We are pleased to partner with KION Group, a proven leader in electrifying industrial truck solutions and one of the world’s leading specialists in the area of warehouse technology and automation,” said Tim Johnston, co-founder, and Executive Chairman of Li-Cycle. The company will support KION’s recycling needs and its ability to align with the EU’s battery regulations. “Together, we will build a circular battery supply chain and support the energy transition.”

An Environmentally Friendly Process

The recycling process of lithium-ion batteries is as follows: The first step of the process takes place at its “Spoke facilities,” which utilize Li-Cycle’s patented and sustainable submerged shredding technology. The process then produces ‘black mass,’ an intermediate product that contains valuable metals. The Spoke facilities have a small environmental footprint, partly because Li-Cycle does not use high-temperature recycling methods.

The Spoke facilities have a small environmental footprint, partly because Li-Cycle does not use high-temperature recycling methods.

The second step involves a hydrometallurgical process that produces battery-grade materials such as lithium carbonate, cobalt sulphate, and nickel sulphate from the black mass. Li-Cycle’s process has minimal solid waste streams to landfill, zero wastewater discharge, and low air emissions.

Li-Cycle currently operates four Spokes in Canada and the U.S., in which more than 50,000 tons of lithium-ion battery material are recycled annually. More Spokes are being built in Germany, Norway, and France. The Spoke in the Magdeburg region, which will have the capacity to process up to 30,000 tons, is expected to be Li-Cycle’s largest Spoke to-date and is scheduled to be operational in 2023.

Up to 95 percent of the mass of a lithium-ion battery can be recovered.

Circular economy expanded

Alongside the ambitious goal of constantly improving the sustainability of its products and solutions, this partnership will also allow the KION Group to meet the requirements of the future EU regulation on batteries and used batteries. The EU Commission’s “Green Deal” proposes to further expand the circular economy of the battery value chain. The aim is for all batteries collected to be recycled going forward and thus achieve a higher utilization ratio, particularly for valuable materials such as copper, cobalt, lithium, nickel, and lead.

At the KION Group, electrified industrial trucks and warehouse logistics solutions already account for around 90 percent of the order intake in the Industrial Trucks & Services segment (KION ITS) and continue gaining importance . Lithium-ion batteries have numerous advantages over classic lead-acid batteries as they do not need to be changed thanks to short charging times and intermediate charging options. Moreover, the development of the lithium-ion battery has made enormous progress in recent years. It is suitable for all application areas of forklifts, especially in intensive shift operation – even in heavy equipment for transporting large loads.