Canadian recycler American Manganese Inc. has achieved a 99.88% purity level in the production of cathode material using its patented RecycLiCo process. This means finding a sustainable supply of ‘highly efficient’ cathode materials for battery manufacturing may be within reach.
American Manganese has established a pilot plant in British Columbia. Here, its R&D partner Kemetco Research Inc. was able to create a high purity Nickel Manganese Cobalt hydroxide “filter cake” (see photo below). This was produced using a 35 litre batch sample of Pregnant Leach Solution.
The breakthrough has resulted in 31 non-disclosure agreements with recycling stakeholders across 9 countries.
‘Cathode materials require extremely high purity levels and must be almost entirely free of unwanted metals in order to conform to industry specifications, which our initial results confirmed today,’ says company ceo Larry Reaugh. He adds: ‘We continue to develop and be transparent with our results in order to set the benchmark on recovery and purity potential in the lithium-ion battery recycling field.’
Indeed, American Manganese is conducting a great number of tests at the RecycLiCo Pilot Plant to further enhance material recovery and purity. In addition, it is sharing feasibility studies with industry leaders. Ultimately, the company wants to develop a commercial opportunity that provides cathode-to-cathode recycling for the lithium-ion battery industry.
Besides, American Manganese has recently started a new collaboration with US Department of Energy National Labs regarding electric car batteries. Both lithium and cobalt recovery are main objectives of this project.
Reaugh underlines that North America largely depends on imports of precious metals. Having a valid recycling alternative in the region will ease trade concerns while reducing the reliance on mining for cobalt, lithium, nickel, and manganese.