Original article published in Waste Today
January 12, 2021 – Adam Redling
Li-Cycle Corp., Mississauga, Canada, announced the successful completion of a battery recycling pilot with New Flyer Industries Canada ULC and New Flyer of America Inc., which are subsidiaries of NFI Group Inc. (NFI), a Manitoba, Canada-based manufacturer of transit buses.
During the pilot, New Flyer provided Li-Cycle with 45 end-of-life lithium-ion battery modules totaling 3,200 pounds. These batteries will be processed at Li-Cycle’s facility and turned into black mass, an industry term for a mixture of lithium, nickel, cobalt and copper. Li-Cycle processes black mass in order to produce 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,” Li-Cycle Chief Commercial Officer Kunal Phalpher says. “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 traditionally 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 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 cradle-to-grave sustainability. The demand for battery recycling is growing, so too is the desire to lessen environmental impact on our communities. Our pilot with Li-Cycle is delivering just this and we are optimistic in offering battery recycling in future,” Chris Stoddart, president of New Flyer, says. “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 reuse in the battery supply chain, and do so through Li-Cycle’s proprietary clean recycling process that minimizes impact to surrounding environments.”
New Flyer and Li-Cycle are both members of CALSTART, an international nonprofit dedicated to accelerating the pace of clean technology and the adoption of clean transportation.