Original article published in IESA
January 12, 2021
Li-Cycle Corp. (Li-Cycle), North America’s largest lithium-ion battery recycling company, has announced its successful completion of a battery recycling pilot with New Flyer Industries Canada ULC and New Flyer of America Inc. (together “New Flyer”), subsidiaries of NFI Group Inc. (“NFI”).
New Flyer provided Li-Cycle with 45 end-of-life lithium-ion battery modules (used for research and development) totaling 3,200 pounds; these batteries will be processed at Li-Cycle’s Spoke facility and turned into a black mass, an industry term for a mixture of lithium, nickel, cobalt, and copper. Li-Cycle’s Hub processes black mass to produce critical, battery-grade materials from recycled sources, as well as other recycled materials that can be returned to the economy.
“We are thrilled to team up with New Flyer to help spearhead the closed-loop resource recovery of electric bus batteries,” said Li-Cycle Chief Commercial Officer Kunal Phalpher. “As of 2019, approximately 425,000 of the world’s buses are electric. By recycling thousands of pounds of lithium-ion batteries, we’re serving the dual purpose of reducing hazardous waste, while recovering critical materials so they can be reintroduced into the supply chain. The compounded benefits of this partnership will have a significant positive environmental impact, which can be a model for cities around the world.”
Lithium-ion batteries have conventionally been impractical to recycle, creating hazardous waste and the loss of valuable, finite materials. Historically, many have been landfilled or partially recycled through pyro-metallurgical processes, which have only an average recovery rate of 40 percent. However, these methods are inefficient and lead to environmental decay, wasted resources, and have a negative impact on an otherwise environmentally-friendly vision of electrification.
“As our customers transition to zero-emission mobility, they do so with a focus on the cradle to grave sustainability. The demand for battery recycling is growing, so too is the desire to lessen the environmental impact on our communities. Our pilot with Li-Cycle is delivering just this and we are optimistic in offering battery recycling in the future,” said Chris Stoddart, President, New Flyer, and MCI.
“We’re committed to providing sustainable mobility solutions from procurement through vehicle retirement. Working with Li-Cycle delivers a triple sustainability benefit: we recover critical resources and divert them from landfills, provide them for re-use in the battery supply chain, and do so through Li-Cycle’s proprietary clean recycling process that minimizes impact to surrounding environments.”