Renault to convert French car plant into battery recycling and research centre

by John Shepherd
Renault is to convert its Flins car assembly plant near Paris into a major research and recycling hub for electric vehicle batteries, the development of energy storage systems and a vehicles repair centre.

The French car giant said work on transforming Flins into the new ‘Re-Factory’ will start in 2021, be completed within three years and new car assembly at the site will be phased out.

The facility, which currently assembles the Nissan Micra and Zoe EV – which uses battery cells from LG Chem, will become "Europe’s first circular economy factory dedicated to mobility with a negative CO2 balance by 2030”, the company said.

Re-factory will comprise four industrial divisions including ‘re-energy’ – which Renault said "plans to develop the potential of applications arising from lithium-ion batteries and new energies to an industrial scale”. The division will also conduct research into the management of used batteries and develop "technical and supply solutions for new energies such as hydrogen”.

Training centre

The ’re-cycle’ division will focus on the "remanufacturing, reuse and recycling of materials” and feature a "dismantling line for end-of-life vehicles”.

The ‘re-trofit’ division will investigate ways of extending the life and uses of vehicles, while ‘re-start’ aims to "accelerate research and innovation in the circular economy”. This division will also host a business incubator, university and training centre.

Flins has been developing processes for the repair of Renault EV batteries since 2011. The company said that between 2021 and 2030 alone, second-life batteries sold by the car group "will represent a capacity of more than 200MWh per year, the equivalent of 4,000 full charges of a Renault Zoe”.

A 15.5MWh stationary energy storage device comprising used EV batteries will be installed at the Re-Factory in 2021.

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