As the price of lithium carbonate soars around the world, a US company has submitted applications for research grants for a new process that would include recycling EV batteries for a supply of the element.
Lithium demand for EV battery cathodes is outstripping available supply, with lithium carbonate currently around $6,400 a tonne in the US.
In China, the element is selling for three times this amount.
Now American Manganese Inc (AMI) claims its patented process for producing electrolytic products from low-grade manganese, coupled with lithium obtained from recycled EV batteries, could result in a much lower cost for cathode materials, with the potential for higher profits for battery makers.
AMI has applied to the US and Canadian governments for funding, and if successful will partner US-based technology and innovation firm Kemetco Research to demonstrate spent lithium cathode materials can be re-used in new lithium-ion batteries.
“There is currently no known commercial technology for large-scale recycling of cathode materials of multiple chemistries. Spent cathode materials represent an ideal resource material to be processed with American Manganese’s proprietary hydrometallurgical process,” said Kemetco president Norman Chow.