Lithium Australia (LA) is to acquire a minority stake in lithium-ion battery (LIB) recycling company Envirostream, as part of its mission to “close the loop on the energy-metal cycle”.
The acquisition comes after LA started producing lithium-iron-phosphate battery cathode material from waste batteries at its re-commissioned pilot facility in Brisbane.
LA will invest a total of AUD600,000 (US$429,000) for 560 shares in Victoria-based Envirostream— currently representing 18.9% of the company’s issued capital.
Envirostream will use the injection of funds to expand its battery shredding facilities, while LA itself will “continue its research into the chemical processing of alkaline batteries and LIBs”.
It is thought that only 3% of LIBs in Australia are currently returned for reprocessing, meaning a substantial amount of potentially dangerous waste is created, and crucial battery metals and materials are lost.
Envirostream will also roll out its own strategy for the collection of spent batteries, “to deal with the rapidly increasing quantity of spent batteries nationally”.
“Maximising the recycling of all battery metals, something rarely done effectively, is a target we have achieved in university-controlled testing”, said Adrian Griffith, managing director of LA. “We have not limited ourselves to lithium-ion batteries, but have included alkaline batteries with the aim of eliminating all such spent items from landfill.”