Cobat has been investing in research and development for years to transform the end-of-life management of products placed on the market, such as lithium accumulators, into environmental and economic opportunities.
In the national panorama the research activities have been so far conducted in collaboration with the National Research Council (CNR), Politecnico di Milano, Università Bicocca, Luiss Guido Carli, Università Bocconi and Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna di Pisa.
From these collaborations has been recently developed a European patent for the treatment of lithium batteries with the use of a hydrometallurgical chemical process that maximizes the recovery of lithium, as well as allowing the extraction of the different target materials present within these batteries. Furthermore, Cobat has signed a joint development agreement with an industrial partner in central Italy, which will enable pilot-scale testing activities to be launched in 2020 for the validation and implementation of an integrated site for the treatment of batteries and accumulators of different chemistry.
On the international front, Cobat is a partner in two projects funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme. Both projects are part of the support measures provided in the strategy of the European Commission for sustainable mobility at low emissions and for the development of integrated platforms to enhance digital innovation in smart factories.
The CarE-Service project aims to promote the development of innovative business models based on the circular economy paradigm and applied to the electric mobility sector. In order to achieve this objective, the project aims to encourage the development of three new value chains at European level for the reuse, remanufacturing and selective recycling of high value added components and materials (in particular lithium batteries, but also metal components and technopolymers).
Cobat, in its role as a system for the end-of-life management of batteries and accumulators with a strong vocation for circular economy issues, is involved in the recovery of lithium batteries for second-life applications and in the identification of potential actors and network sites, taking into account compliance with existing legislation in terms of standardisation and safety standards both during processing, storage and transport.
The DigiPrime, launched in January 2020, aims to develop a new concept of digital platform for the circular economy, in order to enable new business models based on function recovery and reuse of high value-added materials from post-use products, with a cross-sectoral approach. Digiprime develops a federated model of digital platforms for cross-sector activities in the circular economy: each node of the federation offers interoperable functions, services and data, which other nodes can access, promoting an industrial symbiosis approach. Within the project, Cobat coordinates the automotive industry with the aim of developing and validating the services of the platform dedicated to the reuse, remanufacturing and recycling of lithium batteries.