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Recycling lithium-ion battery production waste into NMC cathode material

Thu, 06/10/2021 - 11:41 -- Paul Crompton
Recycling lithium-ion battery production waste into NMC cathode material

Recycler American Manganese has reported the production of lithium-ion NMC (lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt oxide) cathode precursor material directly from recycled waste.

Through its independent R&D contractor Kemetco Research, the Canadian firm said the material had the same technical specification— particle morphology, size and distribution— found in conventional lithium-ion battery cathode precursor materials.

The material was manufactured through the company’s RecycLiCo process.

American Manganese intends to enhance the processing flexibility of the RecycLiCo process by adjusting the ratio of leached metals before the end cathode precursor product is made. 

By adjusting the ratio of the leached metals, the company says it will be able to recycle older cathode chemistries, such as NMC-111, and transform the end product into cathode chemistries, such as NMC-622 or NMC-811, in a closed-loop process. 

The company will test this concept in its next production batch.

Larry Reaugh, president and CEO of American Manganese, said: “The feedstock material used in these recycling tests comes from lithium-ion battery production waste, which accounts for at least 10% of a gigafactory’s production capacity. 

“Therefore, by integrating the recycling process alongside gigafactories, we envision the recycling of battery production waste directly into cathode precursor material for use in battery re-manufacturing.”

Image: scanning electron microscopy scan of cathode precursor from recycled NMC cathode waste

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