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Evonik focuses on EV battery recycling, food technology in innovation drive

Evonik focuses on EV battery recycling, food technology in innovation drive
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The logo of German specialty chemicals company Evonik Industries AG is pictured at their factory in Bitterfeld, Germany, Feb. 29, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

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GDANSK, Sept. 15 (Reuters) – Germany’s Evonik Industries is working on ways to help recycle lithium from electric car batteries and reduce the need for fertilizers for crops as part of an innovation already tipped to raise 1 billion euros ($998 million) to add to sales in the 10 years to 2025.

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At its innovation conference on Thursday, the specialty chemicals company said it saw electric vehicles, food production and meat testing as three areas of particular interest.

According to Evonik (EVKn.DE), up to 95% of lithium in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles is not recycled, mainly due to its high cost.

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The solution, which is currently being piloted, increases efficiency using a ceramic membrane electrochemical process, resulting in battery-grade lithium for use in new cells.

Evonik’s specialists are confident that the ceramic membrane process will be market ready within three to five years.

For agriculture, the company is developing bacteria as biostimulants to provide the nitrogen needed to grow grains such as wheat and maize, instead of energy-intensive synthetic fertilizers.

“Our idea was to supply the plants with nitrogen from the atmosphere with bacteria. If this idea succeeds, it will make a big contribution to sustainability…”, says Jan Wolter, head of the farm-to-fork division at Evonik’s Creavis innovation unit.

The company said it expected to commercially market the first biostimulant formulations between 2025 and 2027.

It is also working on technology to help determine the origin and quality of chicken products, with the aim of responding to consumer demand for greater transparency.

Development work on the product, which uses an epigenetics and bioinformatics platform to test for a wide range of animal welfare factors, is well advanced and specific tests could be made available to customers in the short to medium term, Evonik said.

($1 = 1.0017 euros)

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Reporting by Karol Badohal Editing by Mark Potter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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