Lithium-ion battery recycler Li-Cycle Corp. has announced that its Arizona Spoke facility in Gilbert, Ariz., has commenced commercial operations. The company’s third operational Spoke facility has the capacity to process up to 10,000 metric tons of end-of-life batteries and battery manufacturing scrap per year, bringing Li-Cycle’s total recycling capacity up to 20,000 metric tons per year.
Along with its other North American Spoke facilities in Rochester, N.Y., and Kingston, Ontario, Li-Cycle’s Arizona Spoke facility is part of the company’s original plans to construct 20 Spokes globally by 2025.
Li-Cycle’s Spoke and Hub technologies use a combination of mechanical safe size reduction and hydrometallurgical resource recovery for lithium-ion battery recycling. Its Spoke facilities produce black mass, consisting of valuable critical metals including lithium, cobalt, and nickel. Then Li-Cycle converts the black mass into battery-grade materials at its Hub facilities, the first of which is under construction in Rochester, N.Y. Li-Cycle anticipates the Hub will be able to process 35,000 metric tons of black mass per year.
According to Li-Cycle, Arizona presents a significant opportunity for lithium-ion battery recycling due to the emerging electric vehicle (EV) supply chain. Arizona is close to large markets like California which are expected to produce an increasing supply of end-of-life batteries for recycling from EVs, energy storage projects, and consumer electronics.
“We are pleased to announce that our Arizona Spoke is operational,” says Richard Storrie, Li-Cycle’s regional president for the Americas. “This new, state-of-the-art facility enhances our ability to serve the recycling needs of our customers, while significantly increasing our operational recycling capacity. We’re also creating an additional domestic source of critical metals to be transformed and supply lithium-ion battery production.”
At the facility’s grand opening earlier in May 2022, Li-Cycle was joined by its customers, local government officials, and others connected to the Gilbert community and surrounding area.
The Arizona Spoke facility uses proprietary technology that processes full EV battery packs without dismantling them manually, making recycling the battery packs safer, sustainable, and more label efficient. The facility is close to Li-Cycle’s existing battery and manufacturing scrap supply network in the Southwestern U.S., which optimizes logistics and other efficiencies for recycling services.
Li-Cycle’s Alabama Spoke, which is of the same design as the Arizona Spoke, is scheduled to be operational in Li-Cycle’s third quarter of this year. When the Arizona and Alabama Spokes are operational, the company will have a total processing capacity of 30,000 metric tons per year. By the end of 2023, Li-Cycle expects to have a total of 65,000 metric tons of lithium-ion battery processing capacity per year, across its Spokes in North America and Europe.
Images courtesy of Li-Cycle. Featured image caption: Li-Cycle’s co-founders and the Mayor of Gilbert at the company’s Grand Opening Event for its Arizona Spoke. Left – Ajay Kochhar, President and CEO, co-founder, Li-Cycle; Middle – Brigette Peterson, Mayor, Town of Gilbert; Right – Tim Johnston, Executive Chairman and co-founder, Li-Cycle. Body image caption: Li-Cycle’s co-founders at the company’s Grand Opening Event for its Arizona Spoke. Left to Right: Ajay Kochhar, President and CEO, co-founder, Li-Cycle, and Tim Johnston, Executive Chairman and co-founder, Li-Cycle.