November 26, 2020: Li-Cycle, the Canadian lithium-ion battery recycling company, has closed a series C equity funding round to develop its New York commercial hub and move into international markets, the firm said on November 18.
Details of the financing were not given other than to say Moore Strategic Ventures, the Delaware, US asset management firm, had led the round.
“This is a market that requires significant development — specifically when it comes to handling the incoming tsunami of spent lithium-ion batteries,” said CEO Ajay Kochbar.
Kochbar is not wrong. The problems with recycling lithium batteries from both a technical and cost perspective are well known.
In its Green Chemistry 2020, No. 22 Critical Review, the Royal Society of Chemistry says that lithium batteries should be designed with recycling in mind.
The review talks about lead batteries, which have ‘a simple design, a low-cost recycling process, a structured collection programme and a significant environmental impact if not recycled’.
“Achieving the same for lithium-ion batteries is difficult, due to the more complex cell design and cell chemistry. The lack of any standardization of cells and the predominance of cells from small portable devices means that initial recycling approaches will be more similar to solid municipal waste, producing streams of lower purity,” the review says, and calls for more homogenization within the industry to address some of these problems.
According to a recent study by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Boston Consulting Group, the world’s economy is only 8.6% circular — a far cry from politicians’ ambitious projections.
“Without sustainable and economically viable lithium battery recycling, we believe it’s likely that electric vehicle proliferation will be substantially hindered. Our newest investment partners have the vision to see that truly innovative and circular battery recycling is the key to providing a solution for this urgent global challenge and opportunity,” says Kochbar.
Li-Cycle says that its ‘spoke and hub’ technology, which it says does not use a smelting process, is a low-cost, environmentally safe process that can recycle all types of lithium-ion batteries with a recovery rate of up 95% of all materials.
The resulting enhanced supply of materials was critical for the burgeoning battery sector, said Moore Strategic Ventures’ senior managing director James McIntyre.