Black Mass, Black Gold, and The Fact About EV Battery Recycling

Electrical autos (EVs) promise emissions-free driving wrapped in a veneer of environmental friendliness, however EV detractors are fast to level out their shortcomings — not the least of which being the large carbon value of mining the battery metals (lithium, nickel, cobalt, and manganese) that make up the core of contemporary li-ion automobile batteries. This can be a sunk value that corporations like Volvo estimate will take tens of hundreds of miles pushed to get forward of. However these detractors are lacking a crucial bit of knowledge: battery recycling.

As soon as these components are pulled from the bottom, they will theoretically be used and reused, over and over, with upwards of 99% of the battery supplies making it by means of from one technology of battery to the subsequent. Theoretically, that’s, as a result of it’s confirmed actually troublesome for many battery recyclers to virtually recycle and upcycle the dear cathode supplies present in black mass. Nevertheless, for individuals who can, black mass may simply be the brand new “black gold.”


The “black mass” that we’re referring to is the residual compound shaped by “shredding” li-ion batteries which have reached the top of their usable life cycle. Regardless of its abundance, the Herculean problem lies in recovering the dear cathode components (lithium, nickel, manganese, and cobalt) entwined throughout the battery and upcycling them into usable battery supplies.

Picture courtesy RecycLiCo Battery Supplies

“There’s a nuance in battery recycling the place corporations that shred end-of-life batteries and corporations, like RecycLiCo, that get well the dear supplies locked throughout the black mass – are each known as ‘recyclers’,” explains RecycLiCo Battery Supplies CEO and Director, Zarko Meseldzija.

RecycLiCo is among the many first to have the ability to flip that black mass into “black gold,” recovering nearly all the cathode supplies inside black mass and upcycling them into battery-grade precursor cathode lively materials (pCAM) and lithium that can be utilized once more within the battery manufacturing course of.

And batteries created from these recovered supplies? They’ve been confirmed to be pretty much as good as new — actually!

In unbiased testing carried out by a serious battery provider, lithium-ion battery cells utilizing RecycLiCo’s high-nickel pCAM with N83 and N90 compositions (nickel-manganese-cobalt oxide containing 83% nickel and 90% nickel, each of that are utilized in trendy high-performance battery cells) had been equal to cells made utilizing mined materials, (learn: new) in metrics resembling purity, faucet density, particle distribution, particle measurement, and floor space.

The electrochemical testing of RecycLiCo’s recycled materials batteries consisted of assembling the pCAM materials in lithium-ion battery cells, then biking the cells by means of a number of cost and discharge cycles whereas measuring the particular capability and Coulombic effectivity in opposition to absolutely “new” batteries.

Meseldzija feedback, “Our upcycled supplies have showcased their worth, emphasizing RecycLiCo’s potential to form a round battery provide chain.”


With RecycLiCo’s course of validated by numerous third-parties, it was time to start out placing it to sensible use, and the corporate is doing simply that.

At present, RecycLiCo is working a state-of-the-art demo facility in Vancouver, Canada, producing top-tier battery supplies for industry-leading manufacturers — however that’s not all. 

Picture courtesy RecycLiCo Battery Supplies

This previous spring, RecycLiCo introduced plans to launch a $25M USD, 50-50 three way partnership battery recycling undertaking with Zenith Chemical Company to construct a 2,000-metric-ton-per-year (that’s almost 4.5 million kilos per yr) lithium battery recycling plant in Taiwan.

“Zenith is a perfect companion for our first three way partnership on a number of ranges,” defined Paul Hildebrand, Chairman of RecycLiCo, in an announcement. “They’ve deep technical experience in chemical processing, and established infrastructure, which can allow us to maneuver swiftly and effectively towards manufacturing. Zenith has intensive contacts within the lithium-ion battery discipline, and as a personal firm, they possess a dynamic and versatile administration crew able to reacting rapidly to rising alternatives. I lengthen my gratitude to the administration groups from each Zenith and RecycLiCo for his or her dedication and dedication in bringing this settlement to fruition.”

EV battery recycling process at RecycLiCo.

Picture courtesy RecycLiCo Battery Supplies

Battery recycling is now not a distinct segment idea — it’s a burgeoning {industry} with billions at stake. RecycLiCo’s involvement dates again years, as evidenced by their long-standing R&D packages. Zenith could be the tip of the iceberg.

In different phrases, Zenith is positioned to be the primary of many business joint ventures. And, because the automotive world plows headlong into growing all-electric mannequin ranges, RecycLiCo’s lithium-ion battery recycling resolution could possibly be simply what automakers and battery producers want to offer the US with the crucial minerals and metals wanted to sustainably energy North America’s battery-powered future.

I’m not the one so as to add the phrase “crucial” up there, by the way in which. That was Brandon Tracy, a Congressional analyst in Vitality Coverage who authored the Crucial Minerals in Electrical Automobile Batteries report final August. He detailed rising considerations amongst some Members of Congress and numerous {industry} advocacy teams about securing mineral inputs utilized in EV batteries for American manufacturing pursuits — and, because of advances resembling RecycLiCo’s course of, it’s going to be potential to assist construct that really round economic system and guarantee these minerals stay in use for generations of electrical autos to return.

To seek out out extra about RecycLiCo and the expertise behind its patented course of for battery recycling, go to their web site at, or observe the corporate on LinkedIn or Twitter for nice, “snackable” content material describing their distinctive strategy.


This text is sponsored by RecycLiCo.


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