On Oct. 13, lithium-ion battery recycler Li-Cycle announced its spoke in Tuscaloosa, Ala., has started commercial operations.
“This [Alabama] facility enhances our ability to support the recycling needs of our diverse and growing customer base in North America to ensure lithium-ion battery material is recycled in an environmentally friendly and safe manner,” says Ajay Kochhar, Li-Cycle co-founder and CEO. “Li-Cycle is creating an essential domestic supply of recycled material to support electric vehicle (EV) production and assist automakers in meeting their domestic production content requirements.”
The company’s North American “hub” is being built near Rochester, N.Y. Like Li-Cycle’s other “spoke” facilities, the Alabama site produces “black mass” which contains highly valuable critical metals including lithium, cobalt, and nickel to battery manufacturers. Once the materials go through Li-Cycle’s hub they can be used by manufacturers to make all kinds of lithium-ion batteries (not just EVs), and other applications that use the materials.
Opening in stages in 2023, the Rochester hub is expected to be the first commercial hydrometallurgical battery resource recovery facility and the first source of recycled battery-grade lithium carbonate production in North America.
The Alabama spoke helps support the recycling needs of Li-Cycle’s battery supply customer base in the southeastern U.S. The region’s EV supply chain continues to grow as battery and automotive manufacturers grow. This growth will likely produce a significant number of batteries and other materials that will need to be recycled.
“Li-Cycle’s new battery recycling facility in Tuscaloosa adds a dynamic new dimension to Alabama’s evolving auto industry,” Gov. Kay Ivey declares. “This facility will play an important role in the lifecycle of batteries powering electric vehicles by contributing an innovative sustainability solution.”
Li-Cycle’s Alabama spoke is bigger than two New York City blocks. The new facility has created approximately 45 new jobs and will use improvements implemented in the company’s Arizona spoke to manage battery materials so they flow through the facility efficiently.
The Alabama spoke can process 10,000 metric tons of lithium-ion batteries per year, or the equivalent of batteries from about 20,000 electric vehicles. The facility has the flexibility to expand capacity in the future.
Li-Cycle operates battery recycling facilities in Kingston, Ontario; Rochester, N.Y.; Gilbert, Ariz.; and Tuscaloosa, Ala., and plans to grow as the need grows.
Photos Courtesy of Li-Cycle.