Li-Cycle Holdings Corp said on Wednesday it will build a recycling facility in Alabama to process a rising volume of lithium-ion battery scrap in the U.S. Southeast for reuse by electric vehicle manufacturers.
The facility, to be built in Tuscaloosa, aims to tap into an increased focus from EV and cathode manufacturers across the U.S. Southeast, including Daimler AG’s Mercedes and others, on the so-called circular economy in order to recycle battery metals and rely less on new mines.
Roughly 5% to 10% of the EV battery manufacturing process produces waste that the Alabama facility will primarily recycle, said Ajay Kochhar, Li-Cycle’s chief executive.
“In the past 5 months alone there has been this emergence of additional battery cell manufacturing plants in the U.S. southeastern corridor, and there’s really no recycling solution in that region yet,” Kochhar said.
Li-Cycle said it has partnered with Univar Solutions Inc to collect battery scrap, including a Mercedes plant also in Alabama, and supply it to its recycling facility, where it will be broken down into component metals.
The Toronto-based company plans to spend about $10 million on the facility, which is expected to open by mid-2022 and will be its fourth on the North American continent. Li-Cycle also operates recycling facilities in Ontario and upstate New York. Earlier this year the company announced plans to build a recycling facility in Arizona.
The facility will initially process 5,000 tonnes per year of battery material, bringing the company’s total capacity to about 25,000 tonnes. In time, the Alabama facility’s capacity could double, Kochhar said.