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By A.J. Roan
Metal Tech News 

AMY NMC-811 cathode material gets tested

Recycled black mass from retired electric vehicle batteries Metal Tech News – May 18, 2022

 

Last updated 7/12/2022 at 2:05pm

A pile of black mass before being processed into battery-grade materials.

David Baillot; UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

American Manganese's transformed black mass from recycled EV batteries into NMC-811 cathode precursor materials can be used in the production of new lithium-ion batteries.

American Manganese reports that it has delivered NMC-811 (nickel-manganese-cobalt) cathode precursor material samples produced with its RecycLiCo technology to third-party collaborators in North America, Europe, and Asia.

"We are maintaining an active collaboration with players in the growing battery industry with our continuous lab-scale research, while we work in parallel to prepare our demonstration plant for scaled-up and continuous operations," said American Manganese President and CEO Larry Reaugh.

The cathodes of NMC lithium-ion batteries are made with various percentages of nickel, manganese, and cobalt, which is designated by the number. For example, the previously preferred NMC-111 batteries had equal parts nickel, manganese, and cobalt in the cathode, whereas the cathode of a newer generation NMC-532 battery is 50% nickel, 30% manganese, and 20% cobalt.

Many automakers and battery manufacturers are using cathode chemistries with less manganese and cobalt, such as the NMC-811.

Last year, American Manganese announced that it has come up with a solution that allows its patented RecycLiCo process to upcycle old cathodes to the new chemistries being used in the batteries powering EVs.

By dissolving cathode material from spent lithium-ion batteries or scrap from the manufacturing process, American Manganese has already shown that its patented process can produce greater than 99.9% pure cathode material – with exactly the same nickel-manganese-cobalt ratio as the input material.

Seeking to produce a product customized to go directly into modern battery recipes, American Manganese tasked its development partner Kemetco Research Inc., a leading metallurgical laboratory based in British Columbia, to adjust the ratio of cathode metals in a leach solution produced during the RecycLiCo process.

"Adjusting the ratio of the leached metals enhances the RecycLiCo process giving us flexibility to directly 'upcycle' older cathode chemistries, such as NMC-111, into modern electric vehicle cathode chemistries, such as NMC-532," Reaugh said last year.

The NMC-811 material produced with this process and shipped to the unnamed American Manganese collaborators will be independently analyzed and built into battery cells to benchmark against cathode precursors from virgin mined materials.

"We believe our lithium-ion battery recycling and upcycling technology enables a circular solution for the battery supply chain, and we aim to strengthen our relationship with the various collaborators," finished Reaugh.

The feedstock material for the NMC-811 cathode precursor produced by American Manganese was black mass originating from waste EV batteries.

The company's internal analysis indicates that the cathode precursor specifications are within desired industry ranges but confirmation from third-party analysis is pending.

 

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