Battery Materials Recycling & Upcycling Using UniMelt Microwave Plasma
With our partner programs, we take in recycled battery material as our feedstock to create new battery material at a fraction of the cost and 70-90% lower impact on the environment then current co-precipitation. Our innovative process will upcycle old battery material to the newest, most efficient chemistry in seconds. Allowing a cost-effective, sustainable solution to battery material production.
Energy storage batteries present a huge future waste management challenge — as well as an opportunity. Viable recycling routes for batteries at end of life must be developed to minimize pollution and secure a strong supply of critical raw materials at low environmental cost. With new industrial transformation manufacturing processes like 6K’s UniMelt platform, the idea of recycling and even upcycling battery materials can become a reality.
Today’s recycling processes are environmentally unfriendly and have major drawbacks that make the process complicated and costly, requiring large capital investments. Direct recycling of end of life cathode would bypass the majority of the issues with today’s approach by avoiding the need to go back to the elements, create sulfate salts, then repeat the full cathode coprecipitation process. Unfortunately, cathode at end of life suffers from multiple issues that need to be addressed in order to be reused at full performance: End of Life (EoL) cathode is:
- Lithium loss to parasitic side reactions, leading to low capacity
- Mechanical damage from cycling, leading to both low capacity and high impedance
- Obsolescence – last-gen chemistry no longer competitive
6K Energy’s direct recycling approach overcomes these limitations, resulting in a much simpler, lower cost, and more sustainable approach. Using 6K’s UniMelt plasma process, the lost lithium is supplemented, the chemistry can be modified to upcycle the cathode to current generation, and the mechanical damage is thermally healed in a matter of seconds.