Project Info

BaCLEM: Bio-assisted Closed Loop Recycling for E-mobility Metals from waste PCBs and Li-Ion Batteries

BaCLEM is designed as a needs-driven-research based on the concept that e-wastes can become a valuable resource of materials for other industries (e.g. EV market). The project will address the recovery of value-added and critical metals from two important urban mine streams (low grade printed circuit boards (PCBs) & spent Li-ion batteries (LiBs)), simultaneously showcasing the transformation of the recovered metals into value added materials. BaCLEM is fully in line with the circular economy paradigm stipulating the returning of end-of life (EoL) products into active use.

The demand for key metals - Cu, Co, Li and Ni (referred as E-mobility metals in battery & EV manufacturing sector) is on a constant rise. “Cu” due to its extensive use in batteries, windings and rotors used in electric motors, wiring, busbars and charging infrastructures, is extremely important [1]. “Co” is a primary critical raw material (CRM) identified by the EU due to its high supply risk and economic importance, so is “Li”, both of which have extensive applications in the battery based EVs. As the E-mobility market is expanding, the use of Ni & Al as alternatives to Co is also increasing. It is anticipated that by 2030, “Ni” will find its way as a substitute for Co in EV applications [2].



The overall objective of the project is to carry out scientific work in order to develop a novel biotechnological process for efficient recycling of secondary resources down to marketable metal bearing products. The process complies with a “nature-doing” phenomenon and has a low energy demand and CO2 footprint.  


1. (Accessed on 03.03.2020)

2. Alves Dias P., Blagoeva D., Pavel C., Arvanitidis N. Cobalt: demand-supply balances in the transition to electric mobility. JRC Science for policy report (2018), DOI: 10.2760/97710.