Le car's battery performance Li-ion batteries are found in a wide variety of devices, from cell phones to laptops and electric vehicles. The biggest (right, legitimate) concern of skeptics about the transition to renewables is the recycling of such batteries.
Now there is a new company that is recycling these batteries by taking them out about 95% of the components for reuse: and it is attracting investment. It is called Li-Cycle.
Li-Cycle, new life for lithium batteries
Recycling plants have the capacity to recover tens of thousands of tons of spent batteries every year. Optimizing the removal and treatment of this waste will favor the creation of a “semicircular” economy of batteries, first of all lithium batteries.
Li-Cycle it also says its proprietary “Spoke and Hub” recycling method allows battery manufacturers to finally start working with mostly recycled material.
How does it work?
Regardless of their size or shape, lithium batteries are deconstructed with a mechanical technique that produces two lines of raw materials. The first line includes lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, copper and aluminum, reduced to a black powder. The aluminum and copper scrap of the insulating or conductive foils constitute the second line.
The black powder waste (those from the first line) is then sent through another recovery process which produces high quality lithium carbonate of the required purity to be used to produce the cathode. Cobalt and nickel sulphates are also produced.
The process convinces. Li-Cycle is attracting large investors looking to source lithium and other sustainable minerals. Also because mining (the harvesting process) is a major source of emissions, often of deforestation and even regional conflicts.
Even tech giant LG is trying to invest 50 million dollars in Li-Cycle, as well as having enough lithium batteries to collect 20.000 tons of nickel in 10 years.