RecycLiCo demo plant coming soon
Equipment being delivered for battery upcycling demo plant Metal Tech News – October 27, 2021
Last updated 10/26/2021 at 2:33pm
With the vision of commercializing its efficient and environmentally sound RecycLiCo lithium-ion battery cathode recycling process, in tandem with the growing need being driven by the rapid transition to electric mobility, American Manganese Inc. is readying for the construction of a plant to demonstrate this technology to potential strategic partners.
"With multiple patents, technical publications, and rigorous testing, American Manganese sets itself apart with its methodical approach in developing RecycLiCo as an advanced lithium-ion battery cathode upcycling process, and it gives me confidence in future scale-up efforts," said American Manganese President and CEO Larry Reaugh.
Developed under a partnership with Kemetco Research Inc., a leading metallurgical laboratory based in British Columbia, American Manganese's RecycLiCo hydrometallurgical recycling process is capable of recovering up to 99% extraction of lithium, cobalt, nickel, and manganese from the cathodes of spent lithium-ion batteries.
Earlier this year, American Manganese awarded Kemetco C$2.7 million to develop a 500-kilogram-per-day demonstration plant to simulate real-world operating conditions for potential commercialization partners.
"The demonstration plant provides a tool for licensing or joint developing our RecycLiCo patented process with potential industry leaders," said Reaugh.
With the designs complete and equipment ordered, American Manganese expects construction of the demonstration plant in the Greater Vancouver, BC area to get underway by the end of the year.
This plant will upscale a pilot plant that has shown the RecycLiCo process capable of producing lithium-ion battery materials with up to 99.99% purity.
Above and beyond just recycling, testing has shown that this innovative process can upcycle the black mass from spent batteries into new cathode material ready to go directly back into new cells.
In the lithium-ion battery recycling process, black mass is a powdery material that is produced by crushing or shredding the electrodes after the casing and other ancillary parts have been removed from spent batteries. This black powder contains the critical battery materials – lithium, cobalt, nickel, manganese, graphite, copper, and aluminum.
The ratio of these materials, however, varies by battery manufacturer and application. These chemistries also evolve with time.
By dissolving cathode material from spent lithium-ion batteries or scrap from the manufacturing process, American Manganese had already shown that the RecycLiCo process could produce greater than 99.9% pure cathode material – with exactly the same nickel-manganese-cobalt ratio as the input material.
Pilot-scale testing earlier this year shows this process can be fine-tuned to produce a ready-to-use cathode material with the exact ratios required by a battery manufacturer – eliminating the need for extra steps to extract individual cathode products and then recombine them at the desired ratio.
"Our continued success in upcycling EV battery production scrap and black mass broadens our business strategy and potential for strategic partners," Reaugh said in August.
With the current global inventory of end-of-life batteries in its infancy, American Manganese believes the RecycLiCo demonstration plant it is building in western Canada will help fill a knowledge gap in developing commercial hydrometallurgical recycling facilities that recover high-quality, value-added materials in the years and decades to come.