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September 25, 2020

Li-Cycle to put US$175m into US recycling hub

Li-Cycle says it will invest more than US$175m in its first commercial lithium-ion battery recycling Hub at Eastman Business Park (EBP) in Rochester, New York.

By Rhodri Morgan

Li-Cycle says it will invest more than US$175m in its first commercial lithium-ion battery recycling Hub at Eastman Business Park (EBP) in Rochester, New York.

The Hub is a wet chemistry/hydrometallurgical facility, which will refine battery-grade materials from ‘black mass’ generated from pre-processing spent lithium-ion batteries and will have the capability of processing material from an equivalent of 60,000 metric tonnes of spent lithium-ion batteries, roughly equating to 120,000 electric vehicle battery packs.

This comes in addition to its Spoke facility, set to be operational at the park by late 2020, which will produce ‘black mass’ from spent lithium-ion batteries.

Once fully operational, the Hub will be a major producer of battery-grade materials in North America, specifically cobalt, nickel and lithium. This will be the only source of battery grade lithium carbonate in North America says Li-Cycle and the first commercial facility globally to produce battery grade lithium chemicals from spent lithium-ion batteries.

The Hub refines these critical materials from anode and cathode active materials (‘black mass’) while achieving optimal economics and minimising environmental impact.

Together, the Hub and Spoke facilities minimise the overall environmental footprint of the end-to-end resource recovery process and enable a substantially reduced GHG emission intensity when compared to primary production of the same materials.

“We are excited to be able to announce Rochester as the location of Li-Cycle ‘s Hub refinery,” said Li-Cycle executive chairman and co-founder, Tim Johnston.

“This facility will enable sustainable closed loop production of critical materials for the battery industry, such as cobalt, nickel and lithium, right here in North America, supporting the development of electric vehicles and other sustainable energy applications.”

Li-Cycle has previously run a demonstration Hub in Kingston, Ontario to determine key design criteria for the build out of this first Commercial Hub. The company selected EBP as the site for the facility due to the nature of infrastructure available, including utilities, logistics and other physical infrastructure. Construction of the Hub facility is due to begin in 2021 and is planned to be fully operational in 2022.

Since its inception the company has developed and validated Li-Cycle ‘s Hub-and-Spoke technologies; sustainable processes that allow for the recovery of all critical materials found in lithium-ion batteries, capable of producing battery-grade materials such as cobalt, lithium and nickel at purities required for battery manufacturing.

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