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Navigating the Future of Vehicle Recycling: A perspective from Henry Wattel, CEO of Smart Belgium SA

The automotive industry is currently at a crossroads, with a rapidly growing focus on sustainability and the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). In this shifting landscape, Febelauto, a key player in vehicle recycling in Belgium, faces new challenges and opportunities. Auto Recycling World had the privilege of speaking to Henry Wattel, CEO of Smart Belgium SA, a seasoned professional with extensive experience in the automotive sector. 


Navigating the Future of Vehicle Recycling: A perspective from Henry Wattel, CEO of Smart Belgium SA p
Henry Wattel
Leveraging Automotive Industry Experience for Vehicle Recycling Advancements

Having worked in the automotive industry for many years, and especially in the different subsectors, both as CEO of Smart Belgium but also for Toyota Belgium, for International leasing company both in Belgium and abroad, I have a broad knowledge of the automotive that will certainly be of service in the current transformation of the sector.

Embracing the Challenges and Opportunities of the Proposed ELV Regulation

We anticipate a sustainable transformation towards a future-proof Febelauto for the proposed ELV regulation but also for the battery regulation. We have already identified a long list of new tasks for Febelauto and new challenges. We are busy studying this in detail so that we can maintain our leading position in Europe in car and battery recycling.

The Future of Vehicle Recycling in Light of Rising EV Batteries

We see that Europe is clearly opting for the PRO for end-of-life vehicles and also to assume its role for electric vehicle batteries, as we anticipated with Febelauto, so we are definitely right there. For the increasing volumes of batteries, the operations team is working hard to scale up collection, storage and processing capacity and scale up battery repurposing. For years, we have also been trying to engage the other stakeholders in the car sector and take up their role in making the sector more sustainable with varying degrees of success. I would like to hereby send another appeal to all segments in our sector to take up their responsibility and help spread the benefits of greening our sector.

The Role of Research in Recycling EV Batteries

Seeing bitterly few initiatives in Belgium three years ago, we put our own shoulders to the wheel in battery repurposing, setting up Watt4Ever with four other partners. We now finally see a change in the market and a growing demand for circular batteries because of the pressure on the energy market but also because of the CO2 savings of 80% of the circular battery compared to a new battery. There is also still a lot of margin for improvement and research here, and we are therefore involved in a number of European research projects and all to further support a future-proof battery solution.