North American consumers could soon see more lithium-ion batteries with recycled materials, thanks to a collaboration from four companies.
The players are global battery maker BASF, Florida-based graphene energy storage maker Nanotech Energy, Nevada-based lithium-ion battery recycling company American Battery Technology Company (ABTC), and Ontario-based TODA Advanced Materials.
The group is working together to create a domestic closed-loop system for lithium-ion battery cell production. To accomplish this feat, ABTC will first recycle battery scrap and off-spec material created at two Nanotech facilities.
The recycled materials will be converted into electrochemically active material — this will require two steps called precursor production and cathode active materials production. TODA will produce new precursors while BASF will produce new cathode active materials. Nanotech will then reuse the recycled materials again in its battery cell production, with commercial production of the closed-loop cycle launching in 2024.
Lithium-ion batteries are used to power things like cell phones, laptops, and power tools. But some of the biggest batteries power electric vehicles.
Worldwide, the race is on to develop more environmentally friendly energy and transportation solutions, including amping up EV production. However, EVs still come at an environmental cost — though the cars have no tailpipe emissions, the creation of their large lithium-ion batteries requires dirty energy sources to mine minerals like cobalt and to heat them to high temperatures. Plus, the batteries can create a huge e-waste problem when thrown away.
Making batteries with recycled metals, however, could decrease their carbon footprint by around 25%, BASF said.
“By working together, our four companies can pool their expertise and drive better and more sustainable outcomes for the entire North American electric vehicle and consumer electronics industries,” Curtis Collar, Nanotech Energy’s chief marketing and sales officer, said in a statement. “This is a major milestone among the ongoing advances and growth of the lithium-ion battery market, and we are proud [to be] playing such a key role in the reduction of CO2 emissions along the battery value chain.”
Over in the Elektrek article’s comment section, people seemed generally optimistic, with one saying, “Awesome news,” and another commenting, “Every step that comes closer to closing the loop is a good step! What was the cost of the first human step on the moon — and it was worth it!”
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