Ultium Cells LLC, the battery manufacturing joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solution, has entered a new partnership with battery recycling company Li-Cycle.
Through this new partnership, GM will recycle 100 percent of the material scrap from the manufacturing of battery cells. This will include cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum, which can be used in the production of new batteries or sold for use in adjacent industries. GM says the hydrometallurgical process in which these battery materials will be recycled “emits 30 percent less greenhouse gas than traditional processes,” helping to minimize the environmental impact of the recycling efforts.
“Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain,” said Li-Cycle CEO Ajay Kochhar. “This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining.”
GM says it has recycled or reused 100 percent of the battery packs it has received from customers since 2013, including any Chevy Volt or Chevy Bolt EV battery packs that were replaced through warranty service. Additionally, most current GM EVs are repaired with refurbished battery packs, allowing the automaker to extend the life of the packs and reduce waste.
“GM’s zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90 percent of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025,” Ken Morris, GM’s vice president of electric and autonomous vehicles, said in a statement. “Now, we’re going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials.”
Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle say they will begin the new scrap recycling process later this year. The recycling efforts will also likely ramp up once the new Ultium Cells LLC manufacturing plants open in Lordstown, Ohio and Spring Hill, Tennessee. These plants will supply batteries for several new GM EVs, including the GMC Hummer EV, Cadillac Lyriq and Cruise Origin.