January 10, 2019: American Manganese announced on December 14 it had received ‘notice of allowance’ for a patent for its lithium ion battery cathode metal recycling technology from the United States Patent and Trade Mark Office.
This follows the office’s examination of the invention, which converts cathode metals back into reusable materials (namely cobalt, nickel, manganese, aluminium and lithium) for the manufacture of lithium ion batteries.
Larry Reaugh, president of the firm, said the company’s attorney was completing documentation and submitting fees for formal issuance of the US patent.
Reaugh said: “We recognized early on that significant growth in the electric vehicle market will eventually lead to supply strains in materials used to make lithium ion batteries.
“Given rapidly rising demand for the full suite of battery metals, the industry can simply no longer afford to lose so much valuable material to scrap. We see scrap recycling as a significant growth opportunity.
“Effective recycling of end of life lithium ion batteries is a key aspect of achieving a sustainable circular economy.”
Following the announcement, the company has installed equipment at its pilot plant and is ready to move into their facility for testing.
The company will process one tonne of pre-production cathode scrap material (500kg of NMC and 500kg of NCA) it received from an unnamed US-based metal recycler. The closed loop system operates at 1kg/hr.
Reaugh said: “By using our novel combination of reagents and unit operations, the pilot plant testing will replicate real world closed-circuit conditions and provide data for efficient scale-up of a revenue-generating plant.”