In a groundbreaking move towards sustainability, BASF, a leading battery materials producer, and Nanotech Energy, a specialist in graphene-based energy products, have partnered to manufacture lithium-ion batteries made from recycled metals. This initiative, aimed at North American consumers, seeks to reduce the carbon footprint of lithium-ion batteries by approximately 25%.
A Collaborative Ecosystem for Battery Production and Recycling
The partnership will be a closed-loop system involving multiple stages and companies. BASF will produce cathode active materials using recycled metals sourced from a facility in Battle Creek, Michigan. Nanotech Energy will then utilize these materials to create the actual lithium-ion battery cells. The initiative also involves the American Battery Technology Company (ABTC) and Canada-based TODA Advanced Materials Inc. ABTC will be responsible for recycling materials like nickel, cobalt, manganese, and lithium, while TODA will process these materials into battery precursors. BASF will subsequently convert these into cathode active materials, thus completing the cycle.
Daniel Schönfelder, BASF's Vice President of Battery Base Metals and Recycling, said in a statement, “Our partnership with Nanotech, ABTC, and TODA marks an important step for BASF’s global battery recycling business. Now, we are establishing the first closed-loop system in North America. This enables BASF and Nanotech to produce lithium-ion batteries with locally recycled content.”
Addressing the Growing E-Waste Concerns
The burgeoning production of electric vehicles (EVs) and other tech gadgets that use lithium-ion batteries not only requires a substantial amount of minerals but also poses a growing e-waste problem. Recognizing this, the Biden administration has been actively working to expand the lithium battery supply chain and bolster recycling initiatives. Last year, the Department of Energy committed $3.1 billion in funding to support the establishment of battery production facilities. Additionally, $192 million was allocated in June to encourage battery recycling programs.
The collaboration between BASF and Nanotech Energy represents a significant milestone in combating the environmental challenges posed by the increasing reliance on lithium-ion batteries, while also contributing to a more sustainable future.