Original article published in the Kingston Life Magazine – Winter 2020
It’s been quite the milestone year for local business Li-Cycle.
After four years of research and development, the greentech company opened their first recycling facility, located at 187 Hagerman Avenue. Using advanced technology, Li-Cycle Corp recovers critical materials from lithium-ion batteries and sustainably reintroduces them out into the supply chain. The Kingston business has been touted as the top lithium-ion battery recycling company in North America.
The Kingston plant has had an essential role in the planning and architecture for another recycling facility (slated to open in Rochester, New York, in 2021) as well as a bigger facility known as “the hub process” (expected to open somewhere in North America in 2022).
Co-founder and executive chairman Tim Johnston says the innovative recycling process will help solve the end-of-lifecycle lithium-ion problem. By recovering battery-grade materials such as cobalt, nickel and lithium from products like electric car batteries or cell phones, Li-Cycle is able to reintroduce them back into the battery supply, significantly reducing carbon emissions.
“The technology and process that we developed is a completely low-temperature process,” Johnston says. “If you incinerate a battery, you’ve got plastics; you’ve got other volatile and hazardous components within the battery. You end up producing a lot of waste emissions. It can be harmful to human health.”
With Li-Cycle technology, there’s no limit to the number of times a lithium-ion battery can be recycled. Instead of being treated as waste, the batteries are able to operate as sustainable and circular products.
“We save almost five tonnes of greenhouse gases for every tonne of battery we recycle,” says Johnston.
While the company has been rapidly expanding, Johnston says they plan to remain right where they are as well.
“We have no plans to leave Kingston. (It) has been a great home and a great place for us to grow.”