Introduction: Closing the Loop in the Battery Recycling Industry
In response to the IRA, the U.S. has seen unpresented investment into the Lithium Ion battery recycling industry to recover critical materials such as Lithium, Cobalt and other metals. Currently the output from recycling of Li-ion batteries is shipped to Asia for conversion to precursor cathode active material (pCAM). To understand how countries like the U.S. can secure greater control over these critical minerals, one needs to understand the role pCAM plays in the battery manufacturing process. Creating pCAM from recycled battery material is the key to sustainable battery recycling, rejuvenation, and advancing onshoring for a circular battery economy.
What is pCAM?
Precursor cathode active material (pCAM) is a powder-like substance containing critical components such as nickel, cobalt or other chemical elements. As the name suggests, it is the precursor material to cathode active material (CAM), which is one of the main components of lithium-ion batteries. The battery recycling technology is rapidly evolving, yet the United States and other countries are struggling to keep up with a closed loop battery supply chain.
The Li-ion battery recycling process begins with the shredding and separating of spent batteries that creates black mass, a mixture of the cathode and anode materials. Recovering critical metals from black mass is essential in restoring spent battery material to the Lithium-ion battery industry. There are two major processes for recycling of black mass, pyrometallurgy and hydrometallurgy. Following Green Li-ions proprietary hydrometallurgy process, the black mass is separated into graphite, lithium carbonate and NMC pCAM. This pCAM can be converted to Cathode Active Material and utilized in Li-ion batteries. This will allow for clients to effectively close the supply chain loop for battery manufacturing in North America.
About Green Li-ion
Green Li-ion is revolutionizing the energy storage industry with clean technology that fully remanufactures spent lithium-Ion batteries and waste. To find out more, visit theGreen Li-ion website.