GM and LG Energy Solution to work with Li-Cycle on battery cell material scrap recycling

by John Shepherd
Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle enter an agreement to recycle up to 100% of the raw materials left over from battery cell manufacturing. Image: GM
The General Motors and LG Energy Solution joint venture (LES), Ultium Cells, is to recycle up to 100% of the material scrap from battery cell manufacturing under an agreement with Canadian lithium-ion battery recycler Li-Cycle.

Ultium said the hydrometallurgical recycling process will allow it to recycle materials, including cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminium.

Li-Cycle’s president and CEO and co-founder, Ajay Kochhar, said: "Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain.”

"This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining.”

Refurbished packs

GM said since 2013 it has recycled or reused 100% of the battery packs received from customers, including any packs replaced through warranty service. Most current GM electric vehicles are repaired with refurbished packs.

Ultium and Li-Cycle will start the new scrap recycling process later this year.

Ultium’s battery cells use a proprietary chemistry featuring LES’ NCMA (nickel-cobalt-manganese-aluminium) cathode, which requires 70% less cobalt than existing NCM (nickel-cobalt-manganese) cells.

Last month, Ultium Cells confirmed a $2.3bn (£1.7bn) investment plan to build an electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility in the US state of Tennessee.

The 2.8 million square-foot facility in Spring Hill, Tennessee, will be a sister plant to one under construction in Ohio.

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