Recycling technology firm Aqua Metals has proved its metals recycling process at bench scale with the recovery of cobalt and manganese from lithium-ion batteries black mass.
The company successfully plated high-purity cobalt and produced manganese dioxide from the waste battery material.
The US-based firm claims it can now successfully recover all the high-value metals from used lithium-ion batteries, including lithium hydroxide, copper, and nickel.
These metals can be sold immediately or be processed into battery cathode precursor materials for lithium-ion batteries using proven methods.
The company has now initiated the deployment of a lithium-ion recycling pilot at its Innovation Center in Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, Nevada, US, which will begin operations later this year.
David Regan, VP of commercial at Aqua Metals, said: “We have proven at bench scale that we can extract high-quality metals with what we believe is the lowest environmental footprint of any lithium-ion battery recycling technology under development.
“Our fundamentally non-polluting Li AquaRefining process is expected to recover all the high value materials in lithium-ion batteries sustainably and more cost effectively than other recycling methods and mining.”
Aqua Metals expects the early pilot stage will be able to recycle six to ten metric tonnes (MT) of lithium-ion black mass per month, with the goal of scaling to commercial demonstration quantities each month throughout the year.