Skip to main content

West Midlands’ Circular Economy Routemap

Appendix 7

Circular Battery Manufacturing

  • Opportunity for the West Midlands to develop the first truly circular factory and battery, building on the region’s expertise and strengths and enabling collaboration across various stakeholders.
  • Demand for batteries is growing exponentially but it is very hard to recycle Lithium-Ion batteries.

  • The future of electric technologies depends on ability to recycle and repurpose expensive scarce materials.

  • Demand for scarce materials is predicted to grow by 2050, as high as 1,000% for lithium leading to potential material scarcity.

  • Transitioning to electric vehicles will result in environment issues that can be addressed with circular solutions.

  • Ensure the future of the car industry in the region, which is one of the largest employer with a potential to create 4,000 new jobs.

  • Increase competitive advantage by being at the forefront of battery technology.

  • Economic resilience in the region and reduction in reliance on imports of scarce materials.

  • Reduce need for virgin and scarce materials, limiting environmental degradation.

  • WMCA’s Role: Enable.
  • Partners: Coventry City Council, Coventry Airport, Birmingham Council, Energy Research Accelerator, Birmingham Energy Institute, Birmingham University, Faraday Institute (ReLib), UK BIC, NCCCCE, Aston University, UKRI, Innovate UK, Warwick University, Innovation Alliance, Industry Partners such as JLR, WMCA Electrification Task Force, National Transport Design Centre, BEIS and WM Steering Group for Gigafactory.
  • Jobs created.

  • Scarce materials repurposed/recycled.

  • Amount (£) of private and public investment secured.

Industrial symbiosis delivery programme

  • Implement a place-based industrial symbiosis delivery programme to cross-fertilise opportunities across the three priority areas. Initial focus could be high-value metal reprocessing and water.
  • More than 4,000 businesses in the West Midlands work in metal recycling, reprocessing with a particular strength in aluminium recycling.

  • SMEs make the bulk of the West Midlands’ economy and require additional support to embrace circular processes.

  • The West Midlands was the home of NISP and can build on this legacy.

  • Several business support programmes already exist in the region and could be consolidated under industrial symbiosis.

  • Building a circular water system is key for the region. Opportunity to build on existing projects including United Utilities’ Innovation in Water Challenge.

  • Increase circularity of resources in the region while improving competitiveness of companies of all sizes.

  • Create a demand-pull on the region’s existing R&D and innovation programmes, including universities.

  • Potential to create/save 1,000 jobs in the region.

  • Potential of a total economic value added between £150-250 million as well as £280 million cost savings for businesses.

  • WMCA’s Role: Enable and potential delivery partner.
  • Partners: Industrial Synergies, BEIS, Cast Metals Federation, UK Metal Council, UKMSN+, University of Birmingham, Aston University, existing business support programmes such as ARLI or EBRI, LEPs, Chamber of Commerce, Black Country Consortium, HVM Catapult, DEFRA, Make UK, FSB.
  • Number of businesses supported. Number of new jobs created.

  • Quantity and value of materials recovered/reused.

  • Value added to manufacturing, including costs saved.

High-Value Fuels from Waste

  • Use advanced processing technologies to turn waste into high-value fuels to help industrial sectors like aviation, rail, heavy goods and plants sectors decarbonise.
  • Sectors such as aerospace are facing challenges to decarbonise.

  • These sectors are heavily reliant on imported fossil fuels.

  • The West Midlands is the UK’s largest aerospace cluster.

  • Reduce CO2 emissions of key industrial sectors.

  • Increase the volume and value of resources generated from waste.

  • Reduce waste sent to landfill and incineration by providing a higher-value alternative for key waste streams.

  • Develop expertise and new technologies that can be exported across the UK and globally.

  • WMCA’s Role: Enable.
  • Partners: Midlands Aerospace Alliance
    and their members, Tyseley Energy Park, International Synergies, SUEZ, Veolia, Severn Trent Water, Black Country Consortium, Biffa, National Centre for Decarbonised Heat, Birmingham Energy Innovation Hub, and leading aerospace companies such as Moog Aircraft Group.
  • CO2 saved with alternative fuels.

  • Quantum of non-fossil fuel generated.

  • Successful development of alternative fuel products and their commercialisation.

Circular Manufacturing Centre of Excellence

  • Building on existing projects and expertise, create a centre for circular design in manufacturing and advanced reprocessing of waste. The centre would lead in developing new technologies and processes for end of life resource recovery and would serve as a knowledge-sharing hub in the region.
  • Waste processing and waste facilities have not fully embraced new technologies (AI and robotics) to improve end-of-life recovery.

  • Complex manufactured products are difficult to disassemble making resource recovery challenging.

  • Adequate waste infrastructure is required to support a region-wide transition to a circular economy.

  • Partnership working is required to support a circular economy. A Centre of Excellence can drive these collaborative processes and encourage knowledge- sharing.

  • Provision of practical support around circular design in the manufacturing support, allowing for wider adoption of circular processes.

  • Innovation in technology, product design and services contributing to economic resilience and competitive advantage of the region. Skills and products can be exported across the UK and globally.

  • Reduce dependence on expensive materials.

  • New jobs created in design services, material recovery, reuse and reprocessing.

  • Greater supply chain resilience, partnership and collaboration.

  • WMCA’s Role: Enable.
  • Partners: Black Country Consortium, Coventry City Council, Birmingham City Council, Tyseley Energy Park, Birmingham University, Warwick University, Faraday Institute, National Transport Design Centre, Warwick Manufacturing Group, International Synergies, Veolia, SUEZ, Biffa, Severn Trent Water, LEPs, Chambers of Commerce, HVM Catapult.
  • Number of new technologies patented.

  • Number of new jobs created.

  • Quantity and value of materials recovered/reused.

  • Value added to manufacturing, including costs saved.