Green Li-ion ($35M to recycle spent lithium batteries for making sustainable battery materials)

Green Li-ion, a Singapore-based cleantech company founded in 2020, recycles valuable elements from spent lithium batteries for making sustainable lithium batteries.

Challenges: lithium battery recycling

The rapid growth of electric vehicles has a significant impact on the demand for Li-ion batteries. By 2030, it is anticipated that 140 million electric vehicles will be on the roads worldwide, while 11 million metric tons of Li-ion batteries will reach the end of their service lives. Currently, most used Li-ion batteries are discharged in landfills, and less than 5% of batteries are recycled.

To prepare spent lithium-ion batteries for recycling, they are typically dismantled, crushed, or shredded into a black mass, which is either melted (pyrometallurgy) or dissolved in acid (hydrometallurgy). There are numerous types of impurities in black mass, particularly those derived collectively from different types of lithium-ion batteries. Failure to remove them effectively impairs the purity of precious metals recovered through recycling.

The current method of simply shredding everything and trying to purify a complex mixture results in expensive processes with low value products. Thus, there is a need for a lithium-ion battery recycling process that can more effectively remove impurities from black mass. There is also a need to remove impurities in a more efficient manner that requires less equipment and reduces the amount of precious metals available for recovery as little as possible.

Green Li-ion Technology

Green Li-ion’s recycling system can remove most impurities from black mass and extract graphite and cathode metal salts at a high purity over 99% that can be used for cathode fabrication. The entire recycling process takes 12 to 14 hours, including processes of sulfuric acid leaching, impurity removing, cathode precipitation, and lithium extraction. The final discharge is a slightly saline solution that is not harmful to the environment.

Green Li-ion battery recycle

The diagram below depicts the process of lithium battery recycling.

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