Taiwan is a tech giant, and now it’s going to be home to the newest lithium-ion battery recycling plant. RecycLiCo Battery Materials Inc. and Zenith Chemical Corporation have created a 50–50 joint venture for the project, which will be able to recycle 2,000 metric tons per year of black mass material. The project will entail $25 million of investment to start.
After recycling and processing lithium-ion battery waste, the factory will produce cathode active material, lithium hydroxide monohydrate, and lithium carbonate.
“In building the first commercial battery recycling plant, based on RecycLiCo’s technology, the joint venture combines the extensive expertise, resources, and novel technology of both RecycLiCo and Zenith,” the companies write. “The joint venture facility will leverage RecycLiCo’s lithium-ion battery recycling process and Zenith’s existing land, infrastructure, and labor resources in Taiwan.“
They add that they’ve had a third party company in the industry validate their work. “Since signing a Memorandum of Understanding (‘MOU’) in February 2022, RecycLiCo and Zenith have successfully collaborated with a leading battery materials company to validate the RecycLiCo process and to confirm the quality of its high-nickel cathode precursors and lithium chemical products.” The name of that company is not included, but I’m sure any potential buyers of their end product would be able to get more details and be able to check the product quality themselves.
Zenith is already involved in the production of various nickel-based chemicals, including those used in lithium-ion batteries, such as high-purity nickel sulfate. “Zenith also has a shareholding partnership with Hanwa Co., Ltd, a large publicly traded Japanese distribution company known for its expertise in lithium-ion battery-related materials. Additionally, Zenith collaborates, through a joint venture, with Central Glass Co., Ltd., a leading Japanese publicly traded company specializing in fluorine-based chemicals, and cater to the semiconductor and lithium-ion battery markets.” So, in short, Zenith and RecycLiCo should have no shortage of buyers for their recycled lithium-ion battery inputs. Naturally, though, with so much demand for these various materials as the electric vehicle (EV) industry continues to rapidly grow and scale up, I doubt anyone would be concerned about finding buyers.
“Zenith is an ideal partner for our first joint venture on several levels. They have deep technical expertise in chemical processing, and established infrastructure, which will enable us to move swiftly and efficiently toward production,” Paul Hildebrand, Chairman of RecycLiCo, said. “Zenith has extensive contacts in the lithium-ion battery field, and as a private company, they possess a dynamic and flexible management team capable of reacting quickly to emerging opportunities. I extend my gratitude to the management teams from both Zenith and RecycLiCo for their commitment and dedication in bringing this agreement to fruition.”
“I am pleased to announce our joint venture and look forward to working closely with RecycLiCo to establish the first commercial recycling plant in the world, based on RecycLiCo’s proprietary technology,” James Fang, Chairman of Zenith Chemicals, added.
It’s still seen as quite early in the EV battery recycling arena, since 1) electric cars need time to get old and be taken off the road, and 2) EV sales just started getting significant in the past few years. Ten years ago, few electric vehicles had been sold worldwide. Nonetheless, this may be the perfect time to try to make a name for oneself in this emerging industry. In another ten years, the market will be huge and the dominant players in the industry may well be set. Plus, there are plenty of non-EV lithium-ion batteries to recycle today as well — from smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc.
“By leveraging our collective strengths and expertise, we are confident in our ability to make a significant impact in the battery recycling industry, supporting the circular economy, and demonstrating the efficiency of our process on a commercial scale,” stated Zarko Meseldzija, CEO of RecycLiCo. “This partnership signifies a crucial step forward in our business plan and represents an exciting opportunity for the battery recycling landscape.”
More details on the partnership and this initial joint-venture recycling facility can be found here.
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