In the News

October 14, 2020

Kingston business growing thanks to lithium-ion battery processing technology

Original article and video published by Global News

October 14, 2020 – Mike Postovit

A Kingston business has found a unique way to power its profits.

Li-Cycle, located on Hagerman Avenue, showed off its facility on Wednesday, touting its role as the top lithium-ion battery recycling company in North America.

Around a dozen people, including Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson and Kingston and the Islands MPP Ian Arthur, got a chance to see the company’s first commercial facility, getting a glimpse of how the recycling operation works.

Tim Johnston is the executive chair and co-founder of Li-Cycle.

“We knew there had to be a better way to process batteries; we knew there was a lot of value in a battery,” Johnston said. “Today, 70 percent of the value of the battery is the materials in the battery, so it made a lot of sense to be able to process these.

“Recover those important materials, supply them back into the economy.”

Li-Cycle has been in the Limestone City since late 2016, completing numerous stages of research and development. The Hagerman Avenue location has the capacity to process 5,000 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries per year.

That’s obviously good news when it comes to the environment, according to Johnston.

“One of the key things about the Li-Cycle technology is that we don’t produce any wastewater, there’s no meaningful air admissions, it’s a very simple small footprint of a plant,” Johnston said.

“And we’re able to do it in a way that we’re managing health and safety, environment — we’re also economically sustainable.”

Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson was more than pleased with what he saw.

“This is exactly what we want to be able to do, is attract companies and businesses in this particular space,” Paterson said.

“Being able to find those win-wins, economically as well as environmental.”

Johnston says Li-Cycle works with the largest consumer collector of lithium-ion batteries as well as all of the major automotive companies. He says it doesn’t matter what the form factor is; if it came from an electric vehicle, a hybrid vehicle or your mobile phone the company will process them all.

Earlier this year Li-Cycle was named a 2020 “Global Clean-Tech 100” company. The Kingston facility employs 30 people.