Munich/London/Melbourne — Battery packs clamber up a conveyor belt before dropping into a flame-proof chamber, where they are crushed into gray metallic mush, a cocktail containing the car fuel of the future.

The facility separates components such as cobalt, nickel, graphite and lithium from waste plastic particles. Factory owner Duesenfeld is bracing for a tidal wave of spent batteries as car makers move beyond combustion engines in huge numbers. Over the next decade, the pile of retired power plants will grow from almost nothing to 1.6-million tonnes annually, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (NEF)...

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