American Manganese has reported the successful recycling of lithium-ion battery black mass into NMC-622 (nickel-manganese-cobalt oxide) cathode precursor.
The black mass feedstock was produced by mechanical size reduction from end-of-life lithium-ion batteries, using the Canada-based firm’s RecycLiCo closed-loop process.
The resulting powder substance contains battery materials, including: lithium, cobalt, nickel, and manganese, as well as copper, aluminium, and graphite.
American Manganese (AMY) sourced the samples of black mass from an unnamed electric vehicle manufacturer for demonstration of its process and validation of its product.
Laboratory-scale testing of the black mass samples demonstrated a 99% leach extraction efficiency of lithium, nickel, manganese, and cobalt.
The resulting pregnant leach solution was then adjusted to the desired ratio of nickel, manganese, and cobalt before the direct co-precipitation of the NMC-622 cathode precursor.
AMY said that Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) scans showed its NMC-622 product shares the same technical specifications –particle morphology, size, and distribution – found in conventional lithium-ion battery cathode precursor materials produced from raw materials.
This month AMY received advisory services and funding to support a pilot lithium-ion recycling project from the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) Industrial Research Assistance Program.
The funding, delivered through NRC’s Fast Pilot in Foreign Markets program, is designed to help Canadian small and medium-sized businesses overcome barriers to market entry and facilitate direct adoption of technology in foreign markets.
AMY will model, commission, and test a lithium-ion battery cathode material recycling demonstration plant to include continuous operation with specific cathode waste processing objectives, such as capacity, extraction efficiency, and material purity.
The pilot project is titled ‘Demonstration of Continuous Recycling of Cathode Material from Lithium-ion Battery Production Scrap’.
NRC provided advisory services and conditional funding to support AMY’s research and development project on the ‘Synthesis of Cathode Material Precursors from Recycled Battery Scrap’ project between November 4, 2020 and March 31, 2021.
The main objective of the project is to conduct a technical feasibility study on the synthesis of cathode material precursors with specific particle parameters.
The latest project is in collaboration with European gigafactory developer Italvolt, which is aiming to build a 45GWh, increasing to 70GWh, lithium-ion plant in Scarmagno, Italy.
In March, the firm signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a commercial recycling plant alongside the Scarmagno plant.
The MOU is a response to the European Commission’s proposed Batteries Regulation, which aims to ensure batteries placed on the EU market are sustainable throughout their life cycle.
Italvolt founder Carlstrom also founded, and is a shareholder, of UK gigafactory hopeful Britishvolt.
In July, Britishvolt was granted planning permission to construct its first full-scale lithium-ion facility in Northumberland, UK.