ABTC opens ‘first-of-kind’ battery recycling plant

New proprietary system promises higher yield of battery-grade material

ABTC opens ‘first-of-kind’ battery recycling plant
Creating a circular EV battery ecosystem is a significant long-term challenge

Battery firm American Battery Technology Company (ABTC) has begun operations at a new lithium-ion battery recycling facility located in McCarran, NV, promising “implementation of its first-of-kind lithium-ion battery recycling technologies at an industrial scale”.

“This commercial facility has the capacity to process over 20,000t/yr of battery feedstock materials when fully ramped, and this first phase of operations will process these battery feedstock materials into recycled products including copper, aluminium, steel, a lithium intermediate, and a black mass intermediate material,” ABTC says.

The company says it has a quick path to commercialisation of the recovered materials, particular the black mass intermediate material which it says will be sold through an existing marketing deal with multinational metals trader Techmet-Mercuria.

“We are excited to have achieved this major milestone and to now be generating commercial-scale quantities of domestic recycled battery metal products,” says company CEO Ryan Melsert. Recovering battery-quality material is the most challenging part of the recycling process.

Battery materials company Electra’s recycling project in Ontario, for example, announced earlier in the month that it had succeeded in recovering high amounts of key minerals but that the refined materials are not yet battery-grade quality, albeit while only recycling black mass. ABTC attributes the quick commercialisation of its recovered materials to its unique new recycling technology system, which can produce high quality and quantity of materials.

The new proprietary recycling system “utilises a strategic de-manufacturing and targeted chemical extraction train in order to recover battery materials with high yields, low cost, and with a low environmental footprint”, the company says.

“The ABTC system results in efficient separation, recovery, and purification of high-value battery-grade products with less environmental impact and greater cost efficiencies than conventional methods. These processes are fundamentally different than conventional methods of battery recycling, which utilise high temperature furnaces, such as in smelting operations, or non-strategic shredding or grinding systems,” the firm says.

ABTC has also announced a deal to become the lithium-ion battery recycling partner in an electronic-waste recovery pilot scheme organised by consultancy firm Pyxera Global and IT asset disposal network Terra's ‘Done with IT’ initiative.

ABTC says that this scheme will test the viability of developing a circular economy in battery recycling. The project “aims to develop circular business models for the logistics industry and remove barriers to recovering and recycling used consumer electronics”, ABTC says.

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