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Unique Models Adopted by Li-ion Battery Recycling Start-Ups

Unique Models Adopted by Li-ion Battery Recycling Start-Ups
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BostonAnd January 12 2022 /PRNewswire/ – Unlike typical product exchange business models, recycling is more complex. It provides a service that not only results in a physical product, but also leads to positive externalities associated with reduced landfills and sustainable material recovery. For Li-ion battery recycling, this means less unsustainable mining and less transportation distance for battery metals due to recycling and the creation of local supply chains.

IDTechEx has identified a variety of business models approved by recyclers. Some aim to improve transportation and collection paths, via Spoke and Hub solutions or mobile devices, while others are looking to license their technology or sell recycling products. IDTechEx’s new report, “Li-ion Battery Recycling Market 2022-2042”, provides a detailed analysis of the current value chain after analyzing over 85 Li-ion battery recyclers globally.

Sustainability is a major driver of Li-ion battery recycling, so it is important that every aspect of the recycling business is optimized for minimal environmental impact and maximum efficiency. The spoke and axle model of Li-ion battery recycling has separate mechanical recycling and refining facilities. Smaller plants are where expired Li-ion batteries are broken down into black mass, which is then moved to centrally located “hub” plants for hydrometallurgical processing to battery materials. This system has the advantage of more distributed and accessible collection points which enables processing of hazardous battery waste into an easily transportable material while allowing larger hub plants to develop economies of scale. More efficient models will work to locate hubs with battery manufacturing partners to reduce material transport distance and associated emissions.

Li-Cycle is a Li-ion recycling startup that has adopted this model. The Canadian company currently operates two speaker manufacturers in Ontario And Rochester, New Yorkand plans to build two more in the United States. The first Li-Cycle hub plant is expected to become operational in 2023. Lithion Recycling is another startup Li-ion battery recycling company that is taking advantage of the advantages of the spoke and hub model and plans to build the first oversized plant to be operational by the end of 2022. Although While the model provides greater access to raw materials and reduces transport distances for hazardous materials, the weak point is that it requires a balance between hub and talk activities and these early stage companies may need to establish flexible partnerships with companies willing to buy black block if capacity occurs. transcend the axis.

Another way to improve the accessibility of Li-ion battery recycling is to allow the process to access the feedstock. This is being developed by Redivivus, a US-based startup that has developed a mobile mechanical recycling process called “Redi-Shred”. Redi-Shred consists of a truck that shreds Li-ion batteries and neutralizes them on site to produce a black mass that can be transported safely without additional risk costs. Redivivus plans to combine this technology with the “Redi cycle,” the hydroelectric refining process to synthesize and optimize Li-ion batteries on a commercial scale. The strengths of this model include the focus on safety. Suppliers of expired Li-ion batteries will likely be attracted by the service’s ability to neutralize hazardous materials on site. Conversely, using only mobile mechanical recycling services may limit capacity, especially as electric vehicle batteries become widely available after 2030.

Recent IDTechEx research determined that 48% of recycled Li-ion batteries are currently operating on a laboratory or pilot scale. This reflects innovators realizing the value of recycling in the future circular economy and looking to improve the environmental credentials of electric vehicles. During the 2020s, IDTechEx expects to see many emerging Li-ion battery recycling companies move to the commercial scale as global capacity increases anticipating the availability of expired electric vehicle batteries. For more details on the current Li-ion battery recycling market and future outlook, see the new IDTechEx report “Li-ion Battery Recycling Market 2022-2042”.

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