A Canadian battery recycling company recently secured a $375 million grant from the US Department of Energy for the development of a battery material recycling facility in New York state.
Li-Cycle Holdings stated that the conditional grant would be used for a recycling plant. It will enable it to expand its reach by converting recycled products into quality materials to produce new lithium-ion batteries.
Once the plant, which is slated to be built near Rochester, NY, is fully operational, it is expected to recycle up to 200,000 EVs’ worth of lithium-ion batteries per annum. Li-Cycle hopes to produce 8,500 tons of lithium carbonate on top of nickel sulfate and cobalt sulfate from recycled materials.
The announcement comes on the heels of the United States’ current drive to boost the development and construction of domestic manufacturing facilities, material supply chains, and technologies relevant to its transition to green and sustainable energy.
Incentives like those awarded to Li-Cycle and Inflation Reduction credits appear to be the impetus behind several announcements from battery recycling, battery production, and lithium processing firms seeking to set up shop in the United States.
Beyond Lithium Mining
For the most part, mining is where most those who want a piece of the currently lucrative lithium industry are focused. But, while the United States has numerous deposits of the coveted metal, mining it out of the ground is a challenging and cost-intensive process.
That said, Li-Cycle co-founder and chief executive officer Ajay Kochhar opined that recycling is more cost-effective for getting lithium and other key materials for battery production.
For Kochhar, recycling may appear to be unappreciated by most people in the sector, but it could be the solution that will help drive North American self-sufficiency in terms of raw materials for battery making. He added that, over the next decade, battery recycling firms like Li-Cycle could be responsible for meeting up to 20% of the total demand for battery materials like cobalt, lithium, and nickel.
Indeed, Kochhar sees recycling delivering a significant portion of demand – possibly over 50% – in the long term.
Li-Cycle is not the only company that has been awarded a conditional loan by the Energy Department. Back in January, lithium mining firm Ioneer also received a $700 million grant from the department for the development of the Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project in the state of Nevada.