This will include the recovery of high purity graphite from recycled lithium-ion battery material known as ‘black mass’ and to incorporate improvements to optimise the battery graphite purification process flowsheet.
Black mass is the residual material remaining after hydrometallurgical processes have recovered the high-value metals.
The black mass is considered waste and is reporting as landfill, which is a practice that is now inconsistent with environmental and sustainability objectives of major electric vehicle and battery manufacturers.
Increased interest in recycling application
Recovered graphite from black mass is a composite of both natural and synthetic graphite, which provides the opportunity to pursue higher-value synthetic graphite markets and broader applications within the industrial graphite markets.
EcoGraf is receiving increasing interest in the EcoGraf™ recycling application as electric vehicle and lithium-ion battery manufacturers’ look to establish recycling operations targeting zero waste batteries and improve the sustainability of their manufacturing chains.
These industries are establishing recycling programs and supply chain partnerships in an effort to reduce the environmental impact of electric vehicle batteries and are developing a circular economy for lithium-ion batteries.
Minerals for Climate Action report
On May 11, World Bank Group released a ‘Minerals for Climate Action’ report that highlights the role that recycling and re-use of minerals will play in meeting increasing mineral demand in the future.
The report states that battery graphite is:
- Forecast to comprise 53.8% of the total volume of future mineral demand for energy applications and estimates that more than 3 billion tonnes of battery materials will be needed to transition to renewable energy; and
- A ‘High-Impact Mineral’ due to the growth in its future demand and its critical role in energy storage technologies.