Singapore-based Green Li-ion, a maker of hydrometallurgical systems to recycle lithium-ion batteries, received investment from multiple sources in a recent funding round. The extra cash comes just as the company’s first large-scale system is preparing to go live in the United States, and just as it has signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) for systems additional.
Leon Farrant, CEO and co-founder of Green Li-ion, says the company’s pilot system in Singapore remains operational. “We are currently building our first large model in Texas,” says Farrant.
Farrant and co-founder, chief technology officer Dr. Reza Katal say this first large-scale hydrometallurgical recycling plant will be housed in a LiNiCo Corp facility. near Reno, Nevada, after large components made an escorted trip (think “wide load” signs) from Texas to the Silver State.
The memorandums of understanding signed or in the process of being finalized reveal the global nature of Green Li-ion’s activity. Farrant says the MoUs signed are with Malaysian company Pestech International and UK company Ever Resource Ltd. Facilities in India and Taiwan could also be considered, pending the finalization of agreements.
Success on the sales front necessitated the company’s involvement in the financial markets, says Farrant. “It is important to start producing on a large scale on a global scale,” he comments. Portions of the guaranteed and pledged $10 million in funding will also “significantly go to R&D [research and development] budget,” adds Farrant.
On the R&D front, Farrant cites “the development of our next-generation machine, which can produce not only precursors and cathode materials, but also pure metal sulfates” as a priority. He adds: “We are also considering applying this technology to solar panels.
In addition to manufacturing and R&D, Farrant says Green Li-ion intends to strengthen its IT protection infrastructure. Over the next two years, he envisions Green Li-Ion to “triple in size from a workforce perspective.”
Recent funding attention has not come from a single investor, but from a consortium, says Farrant. It cites London-based Energy Revolution Ventures as lead investor. This company also played a role in financing Canada-based lithium-ion battery recycler LiCycle, helping it prepare for its initial public offering (IPO).
Other investors in Green Li-ion include two South Koreans: venture capital firm Envisioning Partners and conglomerate IS Dongseo. Also on board are New Jersey-based environmental fund SOS Ventures and Houston-based MB Energy Partners, which Farrant said has experience in the energy and banking sectors.
The 2022 funding follows an earlier round announced in March 2021 that garnered support from Singapore-based IT lifecycle service provider TES; LiNiCo Corp., based in Nevada; HAX-SOSV, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm, and Entrepreneur First (EF), a London-based seed capital provider.
Green Li-ion and its investors are tackling a recycling market that is still in its infancy. A study recently published in The Journal of the Indian Institute of Science places a 1% recycling rate on lithium-ion batteries worldwide.
The study authors, based at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering in Brooklyn, depict a stark contrast between the recycling rate of lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles (EVs) and that of lead-acid batteries, used internally. combustion engine vehicles. These batteries are 99% recycled worldwide.
Farrant says electric vehicle battery producers are among the companies Green Li-ion is approaching as potential customers. “We work with battery manufacturers, but we try to differentiate ourselves by producing cathode material faster than anyone on the market,” Farrant says of the metals (lithium, cobalt, nickel, manganese, copper, iron, aluminum and precious metals). ) resulting from the Green Li-ion hydrometallurgical process.
This battery material-to-battery material result is closer to replicating the closed-loop model that has been established by lead-acid battery producers. “Lead-acid batteries have been around for a long time, so recycling has evolved a lot,” says Nikhil Gupta, head of the Tandon study. “Because the architecture of lead-acid batteries hasn’t changed much over the years, recyclers know how to do it quickly and efficiently,” adds Gupta.
The hydrometallurgical co-precipitation technology used by Green Li-ion offers a similar advantage in the lithium-ion space, says Farrant. “The technology is capable of recycling a myriad of lithium-ion batteries at once using a single system with our GLMC-1 machine at the heart of it,” he notes.
Farrant and Katal describe their lithium-ion battery methodology as faster, cleaner, and up to four times more cost effective than other processes they know of. “This year is shaping up to be one where the broader battery and recycling sectors come to the same conclusion – it started off on a very encouraging note,” says Farrant.