Li-Cycle to recycle GM Ultium batteries
Will start with scrap recycling to make the most of materials Metal Tech News – May 12, 2021
Last updated 5/11/2021 at 2:48pm
While it is still several years before any significant quantities of the Ultium batteries going into the next generation of General Motors electric vehicles will reach the end of their lifecycle, the automaker is already establishing lithium-ion battery recycling capabilities at its Ultium battery cell manufacturing mega-factory in Lordstown, Ohio.
To establish this capacity, Ultium Cells LLC, a joint venture between GM and LG Energy Solution, has entered into a multi-year contract with Li-Cycle Corp. to recycle up to 100% of the scrap generated by battery cell manufacturing at the $2.3 billion Lordstown facility, which will span 3 million square feet when it is completed next year.
"This collaboration with Li-Cycle will form an important part of GM's zero-waste initiative, which aims to divert more than 90% of manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025," said Ultium Cells COO Thomas Gallagher. "It will also help increase the supply of available battery-grade materials, eventually reducing the need for mining."
This is the premise Li-Cycle was founded on – provide an end-of-life lithium-ion battery solution that creates a secondary supply of critical battery metals to meet the increasing demand, while also ensuring a sustainable future for our planet.
The lithium-ion battery recycler is implementing a "spoke and hub" strategy to accomplish this mission. Spoke facilities transform lithium-ion batteries into an inert product that is shredded and separated. Cathode and anode materials from the spoke facilities are sent to hub processing plants that produce battery-grade materials.
With these patented spoke and hub facilities in the United States, Li-Cycle will transform Ultium's battery manufacturing scrap into new battery-grade materials, including lithium carbonate, cobalt sulfate, and nickel sulfate, as well as other recycled materials that can be returned to the economy.
By recycling Ultium scrap, Li-Cycle will help GM get the most out of its current battery materials and this recycling partnership is expected to be an essential piece in closing the circular battery supply chain as North America's EV production ramps up.