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13 Sep 2023

BASF and partners create circular recycling chain for new Lithium battery

BASF and partners create circular recycling chain for new Lithium battery

BASF the global chemical producer, has created partnerships with Nanotech Energy, American Battery Technology Company (ABTC), TODA Advanced Materials Inc. (TODA) and has created a circular recycling chain, so that they can make lithium-ion cells out of recycled materials.

The lithium-ion cells will be batteries made out of recycled metals such as lithium, cobalt, manganese and nickel with the aim to reduce the carbon footprint of batteries by 25%. This will be done by replacing the fossil fuels used in normal batteries with renewable energy sources in order to try and reduce the emissions from burning fossil fuels.

However, whilst the creation of a lithium-ion cell battery is a step towards lowering the carbon footprint of batteries, there is still an issue with how lithium is sourced. As lithium is not easy to come by and must be mined, emissions are still being released during this mining process. Therefore, BASF and their partnerships have created a circular recycling chain to create a system where they will be able to make the lithium-ion cell batteries out of recycled material.

This chain involves all of the partners and works through BASF’s facility in Battle Creek, Michigan, producing cathode active materials (CAM), which go to Nanotech Energy, an energy products company based in Los Angeles, who use the cathode active materials in the lithium-ion batteries. At the end of their life, these batteries from Nanotech can then go to ABTC, the battery recycling company in Reno. The products from the recycling process which include battery-grade metals; nickel, cobalt, manganese and lithium, will go to TODA who will make precursors for Cathode Active Materials(pCAM). These will then go onto BASF who will create CAM and enabling the process to start again, closing the circular recycling chain.

BASF has created a similar process in Asia beforehand and this new project shows how important BASF view the creation of lithium-ion batteries which are made from recycled materials. The batteries are quickly becoming popular and are growing into important components of electrified transport and energy storage solutions. Due to their growing demand it has become clear that it is important to ensure that their usage does not create different problems in the future and this highlights just how important the ability to create these batteries within a circular recycling chain is.

Daniel Schönfelder, Senior Vice President of Battery Base Metals and Recycling at BASF, stated, "Our partnership with Nanotech, ABTC, and TODA marks an important step for BASF’s global battery recycling business. This enables BASF and Nanotech to produce lithium-ion batteries with locally recycled content.”

Curtis Collar at Nanotech Energy also commented, "By working together, our four companies can pool their expertise and drive better and more sustainable outcomes for the entire North American electric vehicle and consumer electronics industries. This is a major milestone among the ongoing advances and growth of the lithium-ion battery market, and we are proud playing such a key role in the reduction of CO2 emissions along the battery value chain.”

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