Apr 28, 2021

Ibstock to invest in world’s first net zero brick factory

Georgia Wilson
3 min
Building Materials, Sustainability, Lean Manufacturing
Britain’s building products manufacturer - Ibstock plc - furthers its sustainability efforts by investing in the world’s first net zero brick factor...

Leading Britain’s innovation in clay and concrete building products manufacturing for over 200 years, Ibstock plc has confirmed its intentions to make major investments into its West Midlands brick factory to test and pilot operational efficiencies, creating the world’s first net zero brick factory.

“We are committed to providing new solutions to today’s social and environmental challenges for the new build housing and domestic repair, maintenance, improvement markets (RMI) and infrastructure,” states Ibstock plc.

Details of the pathfinder project

At the West Midlands site - Atlas - Ibstock will combine the reduction of process emissions and greater thermal efficiencies to cut the carbon intensity of bricks produced by 50%, offsetting the remaining emissions using high quality emissions reduction projects.

First stages of the investment will focus on Net Zero for Scopes 1 and 2, Scope 3 will follow at a later date as part of its longer term strategy for sustainability. 


Achieving its ambitions

Utilising a standard methodology that aligns with the UK Government's Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, Ibstock expects its aims for Atlas to be achieved via rapid reduction of carbon emissions from the production process and significantly improved thermal efficiency, as well as on-site renewable electricity generation and renewable energy procurement.  

Remaining greenhouse gases (GHGs) that are not removed via this method, will be offset via carbon credits, sequestration through rewilding, or carbon capture and storage. Over time, Ibstock aims to reduce its offsetting effort by adopting additional emissions reduction measures.

The investments impact outside the organisation

Investing in Atlas, Ibstock will bring significant benefits to the West Midlands' economy including employment, local suppliers, opportunities, and skills. 

Redeveloping its factory will secure its future providing long term employment opportunities, supporting 50 highly skilled manufacturing and engineering jobs.

“The Net Zero journey is one we share with our customers. We have seen a transformational shift in attitudes from all of our key stakeholders; and there is a ‘sea-change’ in how our customers, and, in turn, their customers, view environmental issues. As the UK’s leading brick manufacturer we recognise that we have to adapt and respond – and this is reflected in our Sustainability Roadmap to 2025,” said Joe Hudson, Chief Executive Officer of Ibstock plc.

“We have been leading the way for some time within our sector, with our investments in new production capacity at our Throckley, Chesteron, Eclipse and Lodge Lane plants all reducing the carbon intensity of the manufacturing process, and as the recipients of multiple sustainability awards. However, we can do more, and we can go further. Our plan to invest in Atlas is at the heart of this,” he added. 

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May 12, 2021

Ultium Cells LLC/Li-Cycle: Sustainable Battery Manufacturing

2 min
Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing

Ultium Cells LLC - a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions - has announced its latest collaboration with Li-Cycle. Joining forces the two have set ambitions to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing


What is Ultium Cells LLC?

Announcing their partnership in December 2019, General Motors (GM) and LG Energy Solutions established Ultium Cells LLC with a mission to “ensure excellence of Battery Cell Manufacturing through implementation of best practices from each company to contribute [to the] expansion of a Zero Emission propulsion on a global scale.”

Who is Li-Cycle?

Founded in 2016, Li-Cycle leverages innovative solutions to address emerging and urgent challenges around the world.

As the use of Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in automotive, industrial energy storage, and consumer electronic applications rises, Li-Cycle believes that “the world needs improved technology and supply chain innovations to better recycle these batteries, while also meeting the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials.”

Why are Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces?

By joining forces to expand the recycling of scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing in North America, the new recycling process will allow Ultium Cells LLC to recycle cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum.

“95% of these materials can be used in the production of new batteries or for adjacent industries,” says GM, who explains that the new hydrometallurgical process emits 30% less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than traditional processes, minimising the environmental impact. Use of this process will begin later in the year (2021).

"Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain. This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining, " said Ajay Kochhar, President, CEO and co-founder of Li-Cycle.

"GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90% of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025. Now, we're going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials,” added Ken Morris, Vice President of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles, GM.

Since 2013, GM has recycled or reused 100% of the battery packs it has received from customers, with most current GM EVs repaired with refurbished packs.

"We strive to make more with less waste and energy expended. This is a crucial step in improving the sustainability of our components and manufacturing processes,” concluded Thomas Gallagher, Chief Operating Officer, Ultium Cells LLC.

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