General Motors has acquired a stake in the Canadian company Lithion Recycling. The battery recycling supplier plans to open its first commercial plant with an annual capacity of 7500 tons in 2023 and plans to open new plants in the US, Europe and South Korea.
The exact amount that GM Ventures, as the automaker's investment arm, is investing in lithium was not mentioned in the announcement by General Motors. It only says that they participated in a Series A funding round. Since Lithion Recycling published a message with exactly the same wording, no additional information about investments and participation is there either.
In addition to the investment, GM also entered into a strategic partnership with Lithion Recycling. The goal is to test Lithion's reclaimed battery materials for use in the production of new battery cells for GM and to jointly invest in research and development for recycling processes and the recyclability of future battery designs.
Ultium Cells, a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solution, recently began manufacturing batteries at its first of four planned plants (Germany/UK). Primary products made from recycled lithium materials could potentially be used there.
According to their own statements, the Canadians have been operating the demonstration plant on a commercial scale since 2020 and, based on the data collected there, are confident that the first commercial plant is scheduled to start in 2023. lithium will only be used with materials such as copper, aluminum and the so-called black mass that won cathode materials. The first hydrometallurgical plant, which then extracts raw materials from the black mass, Lithion wants to commission in 2025.
According to the announcement, Lithion wants to reach 95 percent recovery. Since the process uses energy from renewable sources, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by 75 percent compared to mining new battery materials, and water consumption is reduced by as much as 90 percent.