Recharged Recycling: Li-Cycle closes on funding for lithium-ion battery recycling

Mississauga, Ontario – Self-described as “North America’s largest lithium-ion battery recycling company,” Li-Cycle Corp., has announced it has closed a Series C equity funding round with intentions to use the funds for developing its Rochester, New York “commercial hub,” along with an international market expansion. New York-based firm, Moore Strategic Ventures LLC, led the financing round. 

“Li-Cycle is at the forefront of perhaps the most important segment of the electric vehicle and battery supply chain,” says Ajay Kochhar, the firm’s CEO. “This is a market that requires significant development – specifically when it comes to handling the incoming tsunami of spent lithium-ion batteries. Without sustainable and economically viable lithium-ion battery recycling, we believe it’s likely that electric vehicle proliferation will be substantially hindered. Our newest investment partners have the vision to see that truly innovative and circular battery recycling is the key to providing a solution for this urgent global challenge and opportunity.”

Founded in 2016, Li-Cycle says it has “reinvented the recycling process,” with a patented technology that has enabled recoveries of at least 95 per cent of materials found in lithium-ion batteries. The innovative, zero-waste process is a step up from the industry norm of less than 50 per cent recovery. 

“The need for an environmentally sustainable recycling capability for lithium-ion batteries is critical. Not only does Li-Cycle’s technology accomplish this, but it does so while enhancing the local supply of essential battery materials, most notably cobalt, lithium and nickel. Importantly,” says James McIntyre, senior managing director and COO of Moore Strategic Ventures. “Li-Cycle’s recycling technology does not use a polluting smelting process. This round of financing will enable Li-Cycle to continue to scale the business and strengthen its position as the global leader in lithium-ion battery recycling.”

The spoke and hub process that Li-Cycle uses sees batteries shipped to an initial “spoke” facility where the materials are mechanically processed and size-reduced. Next the material is shipped to a “hub” location where the partially processed battery is put through a hydrometallurgical (or wet chemistry) process. 

From there, the resulting components are returned to their initial, battery-grade chemical states. The company can process all variations of lithium-ion batteries used in electronic devices, electric vehicles, e-mobility and other energy storage applications. 

The recycling company currently has 10,000 tons per year of “spoke” capacity with its facility in Kingston, Ontario and expects to amplify that number by commissioning a second spoke location in Rochester, which is anticipated to be operational in late 2020. Li-Cycle also plans to add a hub facility to the Rochester mix, which will be located close to the spoke plant. 

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