SK Ecoplant, a unit of South Korea’s energy and chemicals conglomerate SK Group, announced it had developed four key recycling technologies for electric vehicle (EV) batteries which it said help maximise recovery rates while speeding up materials recovery processes.

SK Ecoplant, a construction engineering and waste management firm, said one newly developed technology helps improve the performance of solvents used in the separation and recovery of minerals such as nickel and cobalt. It claims to have achieved a nickel and cobalt recovery rate of 97% from waste batteries which it says is the highest recovery rate achieved industry wide using solvent extraction methods, while the material purity was 99.9%. The company said it can also produce lithium hydroxide from used batteries for recycling into new EV battery production.

The company said the technology was developed in collaboration with state run Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources.

Another technology, developed in collaboration with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, helps to speed up the complete discharge of waste batteries before disassembly can take place to less than an hour compared with up to 24 hours using current methods.

An SK Ecoplant official said: “With our new solvent extraction technology we will be able to lower operating costs and also reduce facility investment costs for battery recycling.”

The company said it has applied for patents for the new technology and plans to build a new pilot plant in the near future. Once feasibility studies have been successfully carried out, the technology will be introduced at its battery recycling plant in Gyeongju in North Gyeongsang Province which is scheduled for completion in 2025.

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