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By A.J. Roan
Metal Tech News 

GM adds new link to domestic supply chain

Seeks to eventually have localized EV battery ecosystem built Metal Tech News - September 23, 2022


Last updated 9/23/2022 at 11:38am

Technician tests the chemicals inside Lithion Recycling's demonstration plant.

Lithion Recycling Inc.

Lithion Recycling's Lion Project pilot plant can recycle up to 200 metric tons of battery materials per year, the equivalent of roughly 300 to 650 EV batteries. The company's goal is to have 20 commercial-scale (10,000 mt/y or bigger) in operation over the next 15 years.

Playing the long game, General Motors Co. announced a strategic investment with Quebec-based Lithion Recycling Inc. to support the automaker's pursuit of an eventual circular battery ecosystem using Lithion's advanced battery recycling technology.

Touting a battery recovery rate of over 95% and utilizing the clean and green infrastructure already established in Quebec, Lithion's operations will supply GM with recycled materials that have little environmental impact – stating the technology and operations will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 75% and water usage by over 90% compared to raw mining of battery materials.

"GM is aggressively scaling battery cell and EV production in North America to reach our target of more than 1 million units of annual capacity by 2025, and we plan to eliminate tailpipe emissions from all our new light-duty vehicles by 2035 – so we are building a supply chain and recycling strategy that can grow with us," said Jeff Morrison, vice president of global purchasing and supply chain at General Motors. "In Lithion's technology, we see the opportunity to recover and reuse raw material in our Ultium battery packs, making the EVs we produce even more sustainable and helping drive costs down."

Since its rebranding for the ongoing energy transition, GM has been leading the pack of traditional American automakers in its endeavors to decarbonize its vehicles.

In August, Ultium Cells, GM's joint venture with LG Energy Solution, opened its first U.S. battery cell plant, with two additional plants currently under construction.

You can read about General Motors' aggressive decarbonization campaign at GM investing $35B in its electric future in the June 23, 2021 edition of Metal Tech News.

A fourth planned battery cell plant will bring GM's projected total U.S. battery capacity to 160 gigawatt-hours, with binding agreements in place securing all the raw battery materials it needs to reach the planned annual capacity by 2025, including lithium, nickel, cobalt, and full cathode active material supply.

As the legacy carmaker continues to set the foundation for its electric vehicles, GM says it will work to increase localization of its battery materials supply chain to North America.

As for Lithion, by 2023, it will launch its first commercial recycling operations, utilizing the data drawn from its highly successful industrial-scale demonstration plant commissioned in 2020.

The separated components from a recycled lithium-ion battery.

Lithion Recycling Inc.

Materials recycled from lithium-ion batteries.

The opening of this facility, with a capacity of 7,500 metric tons per year of lithium-ion batteries, will be followed in 2025 by the launch of Lithion's first hydrometallurgical plant.

"Working with GM marks a key step in Lithion's commercial development and pioneers a needed breakthrough in the electrification of transportation by enabling a cost-effective and sustainable circularity in the EV battery industry," said Lithion Recycling President and CEO Benoit Couture.

Lithion currently has multiple facilities in the pipeline for the U.S., Europe, and Korea, which all contribute toward its vision to support rapid deployment and enhanced battery end-of-life management globally.

"This partnership underscores our commitment to enable the transition to a low-carbon economy amidst the fight against climate change," finished Couture.


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