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Lead-acid recycler and battery materials firm Doe Run names successor to retiring CEO and president

Tue, 07/06/2021 - 11:55 -- Paul Crompton
Matthew Wohl

Battery materials and lead-acid recycling firm Doe Run Company has promoted its vice president – law and general counsel, to president. 

Matthew Wohl took the seat on 1 July from retiring president and CEO, Jerry Pyatt who will leave the firm on 31 December, 2021. 

Wohl will take on the additional role of CEO from January 1, 2022.

Wohl joined Doe Run in 2009 as a senior corporate attorney, and became vice president – law and general counsel in 2011 where he led all aspects of the company’s legal efforts, including state and federal advocacy work to protect Missouri’s lead industry.

Pyatt said: “Matt’s background with both public and private sector companies in highly regulated industries will enable the company to navigate a course that advances new technologies in both lead battery recycling, as well as the extractive industries.”

Wohl said: “The natural resource industry, and in particular the mining and metals industry, is at a critical juncture. 

“As a country, we will need every ounce of lead, copper, zinc, cobalt and many other metals we can get to support the battery technologies required to meet clean and renewable energy goals.”

Additional leadership changes

As a part of the leadership transition, Doe Run’s Crystal Saling is being promoted to vice president – law and general counsel. In her new role, Saling will also oversee the company’s IT department.

Brian Mangogna has been promoted to vice president – mining and milling. He joined the firm in 1998 as a metallurgist, and advanced through the company’s milling department to become general manager of the Southeast Missouri Mining and Milling Division (SEMO) in 2019. 

He will oversee six mines, four mills and five water treatment plants as part of the company’s lead, zinc, and copper mining and concentrate production.

Tony Bogolin has become executive vice president – finance and HR, CFO and treasurer. 

Michael Montgomery becomes vice president – environment, health and safety.

Lead recycling veteran  

Pyatt began his career in the laboratory of Doe Run’s predecessor, St. Joseph Lead Company, where he then advanced through leadership and management positions before becoming the company’s COO in 2001, and president and CEO in 2012.

Pyatt said: “It has been a privilege to lead a 157-year-old company that has contributed in so many ways to our modern society.

“I am proud to have overseen the conversion of a primary lead smelter to a secondary smelter in 1991, the introduction of the first underground application of a modern, unmanned electric rail system to haul ore, and the development of hyrodmetallurgical processes that the company is poised to bring to market.” 

Regulatory fine

In 2019, Doe Run denied it had failed to adequately conduct performance tests and communicate with regulators. However, the lead battery recycling firm was fined $1.2 million by Missouri regulators for ‘dozens’ of clean air violations over several years at its center in southeast Missouri.

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Recycling partnership aims to make lithium-ion battery-grade graphite

Fri, 07/02/2021 - 11:10 -- Paul Crompton
Recycling partnership to make lithium-ion battery-grade graphite

Nouveau Monde Graphite and Lithion Recycling have signed a collaboration agreement for the recovery and recycling of graphite for reuse as lithium-ion battery anodes.

The agreement aims to define the most efficient and cost-effective way to turn recycled graphite into anode material for lithium-ion batteries.

The partnership aims to position both companies in the global market using Lithion's hydrometallurgical recycling process and Nouveau Monde’s expertise to promote a graphite circular economy. 

Both companies operate in Québec, with facilities in and around Montréal, Canada. 

The firms will target “western markets” for commercialisation of their products.

A Nouveau Monde spokesman told BEST: “Operational parameters haven’t been finalised just yet. The agreement is the first step toward developing this collaboration and expertise.”

Lithion says its recycling process allows up to 95% of battery components to be recovered and treated so they can be reused by battery manufacturers.

Between 2022-2023, Lithion is set to launch its first commercial recycling plant, drawing on operational data from an industrial-scale demonstration plant in Québec. 

Lithion’s business model includes worldwide deployment, through licensing agreements, aiming at 20 recycling plants. 

Nouveau Monde is working towards developing a fully-integrated source of green battery anode material in Québec, Canada. Targeting commercial operations by 2023.

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Environmentally friendly lithium-ion battery recycling method announced by ORNL

Fri, 06/25/2021 - 16:33 -- Paul Crompton
Environmentally friendly lithium-ion battery recycling method announced by ORNL

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have developed a solvent that enables a “more environmentally friendly” process for recycling lithium-ion batteries.

The ORNL-developed wet chemical process uses triethyl phosphate to dissolve the binder material that adheres cathodes to metal foil current collectors in lithium-ion batteries.

The method can recover cobalt-based cathodes, graphite and other valuable materials like copper foils for reuse in new batteries.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researcher Yaocai Bai told BEST: "We are working with the battery industry and several companies are interested in this patented technology.

"The pyrometallurgical process involves the high energy cost of using high-temperature kilns and the detrimental generation of gaseous pollutants. The hydrometallurgical process involves caustic reagents and wastewater treatment. In contrast, our method utilises a green solvent that can be recycled and reused, making the process more environmentally friendly.

"The cost of this process is currently being evaluated. We are using the EverBatt model developed by the DOE ReCell Center to study both the cost and environmental aspects of our process. We believe the cost is low because of the reusability of the green solvent."

The use of, triethyl phosphate enabled the recovery of cobalt-containing cathodes, such as NMC622, by dissolving the polymeric binder of poly (vinylidene fluoride). 

Electrochemically active materials were separated from cathode scraps collected at the manufacturing step of electrodes through a solvent-based separation method without jeopardizing their physical characteristics, crystalline structure, and electrochemical performance. 

The team reported the recovered aluminum foils had no sign of corrosion and the polymeric binder could be recovered via a non-solvent-induced phase separation.

Additionally, recovery of cathode materials from spent cells was achieved using refined separation parameters based on the recycling of cathode scraps.

ORNL’s Ilias Belharouak said: “With this solvent, we’re able to create a process that reduces toxic exposure for workers and recovers valuable, undamaged, active NMC [nickel-manganese-cobalt] cathodes, clean metal foils and other materials that can be easily reused in new batteries.” 

To date, the tem has only tested the technology on a "few kilograms" of battery scrap.


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MoU sets out plans to build North American lithium-ion battery recycling plant

Fri, 06/18/2021 - 12:54 -- Paul Crompton
MoU sets out plans to build North American lithium-ion battery recycling plant

Primobius, a joint venture equally owned by Australia’s Neometals and German SMS group, has signed a deal to enter the North American lithium-ion battery recycling market.

Primobius has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Stelco—  a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canada-based Stelco Holdings— to commercialise an environmentally friendly recycling solution.

The MoU aims to form a 50:50 incorporated joint venture (JV) to process battery cells from scrap and end-of-life vehicles in North America. 

Under the JV, Primobius will supply a 20,000 tons-per-year cell processing recycling facility adjacent to Stelco’s proposed vehicle recycling operation.

The Primobius pyrometallurgical recycling process recovers materials from consumer electronic batteries, and nickel‐rich electric vehicle and stationary storage battery chemistries.

Stelco will supply the battery cell feed to the plant. 

Both firms intend to share information, conduct due diligence, collaborate and build a business case for a long-term commercial relationship between the parties. 

Stelco is looking to establish a battery recycling business as part of its broader initiative with major automobile producers to recycle end-of-life automobiles to recover valuable materials for re-use or re-sale.

The facility will be modelled on Primobius’ proprietary refining process following the successful completion of demonstration trials at its plant, which is being built in a warehouse at the SMS group manufacturing center in Hilchenbach, Germany. 

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Grant centralises lead-acid battery case recycling

Fri, 06/18/2021 - 12:17 -- Paul Crompton

KC Recycling is set to create a facility for recycling the plastic cases from lead-acid batteries following a ($852,000) grant.

The cash from CleanBC Plastics Action Fund will jumpstart a CAD$1.2 million ($991,000) plant upgrade that will include a Polypropylene Extruding Operation at the Trail, British Columbia, plant in Canada.

Previously the plant exported its unfinished plastic regrind to polypropylene compounders, where it was pelletised to meet manufacturers' requirements. 

The new plant will be able to do this with an on-site washing, extrusion, and pelletising laboratory. 

KC Recycling will test the refined material to ensure it meets customer specifications before shipping it to battery manufacturers for use in new batteries.

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MG Motor and Attero partner for responsible recycling of EV batteries in India

Fri, 06/11/2021 - 11:49 -- Paul Crompton
MG Motor and Attero partner for responsible recycling of EV batteries in India

MG Motor India has partnered with urban mining firm Attero to develop ways of reusing and recycling end-of-life lithium-ion batteries from electric vehicles in India. 

MG Motor India—the Indian arm of the UK-based vehicle maker— has made the deal in line with India’s vision of creating an end-to-end electric vehicle ecosystem in the country.

The move aims to assist in the responsible recycling, and minimise the carbon footprint, of EV users. 

Nitin Gupta, Attero’s chief executive officer, said: “We believe in sustainable approaches as we are committed to the ‘Clean India, Green India’ vision.”

Attero holds more than 30 global patents for its recycling technologies. 

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Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle collaborate to expand recycling in North America

Thu, 06/03/2021 - 14:01 -- Paul Crompton
Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle collaborate to expand recycling in North America

Ultium Cells has signed an agreement with Canada-based firm Li-Cycle to recycle up to 100% of the material scrap from its lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing. 

Ultium, a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solution, will recycle battery materials, including cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum. 

The new scrap recycling process will begin later this year. 

Around 95% of the recovered materials can be used in the production of new batteries or for adjacent industries, say Ultium.

The battery materials will be recycled using Li-Cycle’s hydrometallurgical process.

GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90% of its global manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration by 2025; since 2013, GM has recycled, or reused, all returned battery packs, with most  GM EVs repaired with refurbished packs.

Ultium Cells aims to mass-produce Ultium battery cells, with GM and LG Energy Solution investing $2.3 billion.

Ultium Cells’ plant in Lordstown, Ohio, will have annual capacity of more than 30GWh when completed. 

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Recycler signs deal to produce black mass from used lithium-ion e-bus batteries

Fri, 01/22/2021 - 08:56 -- Paul Crompton

Lithium-ion battery recycling company Li-Cycle Corp has completed its battery recycling pilot plant where the Canadian produced black mass— a mixture of lithium, nickel, cobalt and copper— from used lithium-ion batteries.

The Canadian firm received 45 end-of-life lithium-ion battery modules from e-busses totalling 3,200 pounds from New Flyer Industries Canada and New Flyer of America— subsidiaries of bus manufacturer NFI Group— in Q4 of 2020.

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Start-ups secure funding to drive lithium-ion battery market in India

Wed, 01/20/2021 - 15:06 -- Paul Crompton

Lithium-ion electric vehicle battery manufacturing and recycling start-up Lohum Cleantech has raised $7 million to expand its manufacturing and recycling capabilities and expand its presence to the US in the coming months.

The New Delhi, India, firm secured the cash during a round of funding from institutional investors led by Baring Private Equity Partners (BPEP). 

Lohum aims to increase its combined manufacturing and recycling capacity to 700MWh, from 150MWh for the former and 150MWh for the latter. 

Its manufacturing plant in Greater Noida has the capacity to produce battery packs for 75,000 electric two-wheelers, according to Lohum CEO Rajat Verma.

Verma told the Indian English language newspaper The Economic Times the company was looking to raise an additional $20 million in funding (INR 150 Crore) over the next year. 

Lohum assembles lithium-ion batteries from cells imported from other countries, including China and Taiwan.

It follows Mumbai-based electric vehicle and energy storage company Gegadyne raising $5 million in strategic investment from electrical appliances giant V-Guard. 

This investment will enable Gegadyne Energy to scale up its operations and further enhance research and development.

Founded in 2015, Gegadyne says its battery consists of proprietary nano-material composites and ‘advanced battery architectures’ that enable quick charging batteries with high energy density similar to lithium-ion batteries.

However, it is not clear what chemistry its battery uses but it claims to be able to charge in 15 minutes.

BYD builds on its closed loop dream with second-life lithium-ion battery partnership

Tue, 01/05/2021 - 14:34 -- Paul Crompton

Chinese battery OEM and electric vehicle maker BYD will transform old batteries into energy storage systems through a partnership with Chinese lithium-ion recycling start-up Pandpower and Japanese trading house Itochu.

Old battery packs from buses, taxis and other vehicles manufactured by BYD will be collected from dealerships across China and turned into ship-container-sized power units for renewable energy and factories.

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