Canadian Manufacturing

Engineering report gives Electra green light for battery recycling

Electra said it will grow its recycling business in a staged, modular fashion, initially targeting black mass from consumer electronics and subsequently targeting primary battery scrap material from North American EV cell manufacturers.

December 7, 2021  by CM Staff

TORONTO— Electra Battery Materials Corporation announced results from engineering studies and metallurgical test work for lithium-ion battery recycling. The company intends to commence refining the key components of electric vehicle batteries, known as black mass, in mid-2022 as the second phase of a four-part strategy to become a low carbon North American battery materials park that will include battery grade nickel and cobalt, battery recycling and precursor manufacturing.

The company stated that it has developed a flowsheet that can recover key elements from batteries, including lithium, nickel, cobalt, copper and graphite; patent applications are pending.

According to a statement, engineering studies confirmed that Electra’s existing refinery complex has the infrastructure, scale and equipment to process a bulk sample of material on a full production scale basis in mid-2022 with an initial investment of under US$3 million. 

Electra said it will grow its recycling business in a staged, modular fashion, initially targeting black mass from consumer electronics and subsequently targeting primary battery scrap material from North American EV cell manufacturers.

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According to the company, the recycling facility will have a very low carbon footprint due to a 100 per cent hydrometallurgical process and hydroelectric power source resulting in nearly zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

“A secure, sustainable and domestic solution for recycling lithium-ion batteries is essential as North America shifts to electric mobility. At present, there is no industrial scale hydrometallurgical facility in North America to recycle the black mass material that is recovered when lithium-ion batteries are dismantled and shredded,” said Trent Mell, CEO in a statement.

“With our existing facility in Canada, Electra can be the first recycler to establish a closed-loop supply of battery materials, making electric vehicles more sustainable and more reliant on domestic material. Our first concrete steps on that path will be a commercial scale demonstration plant in 2022 utilizing existing facilities and equipment.”