General Motors has entered a partnership with Canadian battery recycling firm Li-Cycle to support materials recycling at its new Ultium Cells plant in Warren, Ohio.
Li-Cycle will operate a lithium-ion battery cell recycling facility on the same plot of land as the Ultium Cells mega factory in Ohio, “substantially,” reducing the costs associated with moving and handling battery manufacturing scrap materials, the two companies said in a press release issued Friday. The battery recycling plant will also be optimized for the particular types of battery manufacturing scrap generated at the Ultium Cells plant, which Li-Cycle says will enhance production efficiency there. GM and Li-Cycle first announced they would collaborate on battery recycling processes last May.
Li-Cycle’s new Ohio facility will have the capacity to process up to 15,000 tonnes of battery manufacturing scrap and battery materials per year, the company claims. The output product of the recycling process, referred to as black mass, is a powder-like substance that contains various rare earth materials such as lithium, cobalt and nickel. This powder is then refined and converted into battery-grade material at a separate Li-Cycle facility in Rochester, New York. The Ohio facility is set to come online in early 2023 and will bring roughly 35 new jobs to the Warren region.
Kevin Kerr, Ultium Cells’ Ohio Plant Director, said the implementation of a battery recycling facility at the Ultium Cells plant is a key part of the project’s long-term sustainability.
“Our collaboration with Li-Cycle is an instrumental step in improving the sustainability of our components and manufacturing processes. This facility is another bold step forward in our sustainability journey here at Ultium Cells,” Kerr said.
The Ultium Cells plant in Ohio is the first of three such facilities that will be built by General Motors and its battery manufacturing partner LG Energy Solution, in the United States. The plant, which is currently under construction ahead of a planned completion this summer, will mass-produce Ultium battery cells for electric vehicles and is expected to create more than 1,100 new jobs.
Ken Morris, GM’s vice president of electric and autonomous vehicles, said previously that this effort falls in line with the automaker’s plan to reduce the amount of waste coming out of its various manufacturing plants.
“GM’s zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90 percent of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025,” Morris said last year. “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.”