Renewable Metals has cheaper, cleaner battery recycling in its sights
Ground-breaking technology recovers valuable materials from lithium-ion battery waste.
WA recycling startup Renewable Metals is strengthening Australia’s circular economy by developing battery recycling plants with a ground-breaking technology that processes all formats of lithium-ion batteries using a cheaper cleaner method to recover valuable metals and critical minerals.
annual waste recycling capacity
lower processing costs
To decarbonise quickly, the world needs cost-effective recycling solutions that maximise recovery for all types of lithium batteries (not just higher value ones with nickel and cobalt). We’re thrilled to be backed by the CEFC, Grantham and Investible. Their support will accelerate our scale-up as well as help create two to three times more value than the current Australian practice of exporting batteries or black mass for recycling overseas.Luan AtkinsonCEO, Renewable Metals
The CEFC has invested $2.5 million in Renewable Metals, via the Clean Energy Innovation Fund, as part of an $8 million investment round led by Asia Pacific-based venture capital firm Investible with additional participation from US-based venture capital investor the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment. The CEFC investment is managed by Virescent Ventures.
The Renewable Metals investment round will help the business scale and commercialise its groundbreaking lithium-ion battery recycling technology. Renewable Metals is developing a pilot plant in Perth and bringing forward the construction of a larger scale demonstration plant capable of processing up to 1,500 tonnes of battery waste annually.
Renewable Metals, founded by a team of experienced metallurgists, was awarded the inaugural Supercharge Australia Innovation Challenge Award in March 2023 for its technological developments.*
Addressing a growing need for recycling
There is a growing global need for effective waste management strategies as demand for lithium-ion batteries rises, driven by the increasing electrification of transport and the renewable energy generation storage sector.
The CSIRO has estimated that the Australian battery recycling industry could help recover up to $3.1 billion of materials and metals and contribute to the global battery industry.* In 2021, only 10 per cent of Australia’s lithium-ion battery waste was recycled, compared with 99 per cent of lead battery waste.
A more sustainable process
Renewable Metals has developed a more sustainable and efficient process to recycle all formats of lithium-ion batteries, from large battery packs currently used in electric vehicles and home stationary storage batteries, as well as small consumer electronic batteries. The process has the potential to recover more of the critical minerals that support electrification, help address battery waste and strengthen Australia’s circular economy.
The Renewable Metals technology uses an alkaline leaching that eliminates the need to preprocess battery cells to ‘black mass’ as found in existing battery recycling processes. The simpler extraction method uses less chemicals to recover critical battery materials and produces less waste, reducing processing costs by up to 30 per cent compared to competitors.
The Renewable Metals technology can recover the valuable critical materials from batteries including lithium, nickel, cobalt, copper and manganese and can be applied to different battery chemistries. Importantly, the technology has the potential to recycle lithium ferro phosphate (LFP) batteries, which make up a growing share of batteries used in electric vehicles, and which are currently too expensive to recycle through existing technology.
Battery recycling that extracts valuable metals and materials is an important part of building Australia’s circular economy as demand for batteries grows. By developing end-of-life battery systems, Australia can participate across the battery value chain, from critical minerals extraction, refining, processing operation and maintenance and the eventual repurposing and recycling of batteries and components.Blair PritchardPartner, Virescent Ventures
*CSIRO Australian landscape for lithium-ion battery recycling and reuse in 2020