Neometals Ltd has successfully commissioned the first stage of its lithium-ion battery recycling pilot plant (Pilot) in Canada.
Despite worldwide regulation constantly tightening, it is estimated that only approximately 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled across the globe.
Increasing regulations coupled with developing corporate requirements for ethical sourcing and disposal of lithium-ion batteries have created an opportunity for Neometals to recover critical/non-renewable resources while reducing the environmental impacts usually associated with battery disposal.
To capture this opportunity, Neometals developed a process flowsheet to recover over 90 per cent of all battery materials (in addition to recycling water and minimising graphite waste) from end of life lithium-ion batteries that could otherwise find their way to landfill.
This process flowsheet targets the recovery of cobalt from consumer electric batteries as well as nickel-rich electric vehicles and stationary storage battery chemistries (such as lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt cathodes).
Through the Pilot, Neometals aims to demonstrate and showcase its mixed feed flowsheet and verify the assumptions made at bench scale.
The Pilot is also expected to generate marketing samples of products and provide essential data required for a subsequent front-end engineering design study.
The company recently contracted SGS Canada Inc. (SGS) to both construct and operate the Pilot in their fully accredited Lakefield facility.
SGS has also been engaged to undertake Pilot front-end feed preparation which involves shredding, removal of metal casings and plastics (Stage 1) and the hydrometallurgical processing and refining stage (Stage 2) to deliver high-purity battery materials for market.
Neometals Managing Director Chris Reed said the company is delighted to see the battery recycling project on track.
“The commissioning of the Pilot represents a significant milestone and marks the culmination of extensive research and development into a flowsheet to process multiple battery chemistries, from consumer electronics to electric vehicle applications,” he said.
“With the ever-increasing volumes of commercial lithium-ion batteries reaching the end of their life, we are focused on providing at scale, then qualifying our scale-able and modular recycling solution with industry as early as possible.”