There is rapid growth in the demand for lithium-ion batteries that power our vehicles, stationary grid storage systems, and consumer electronics. However, while the domestic US manufacturing capacities of end-use-products like electric vehicles and of lithium-ion battery cells have grown rapidly in the US in recent years, unfortunately the upstream domestic production capacities of the battery metals that supply these operations have not kept pace. This has led to three paramount challenges:
- Security of Supply, less than 1% of the global manufacturing capacity of each of the primary battery metals (lithium, nickel, cobalt, and manganese) is currently within the US. The federal government considers all four minerals to be “essential to the economic or national security of the United States.”
- Cost of Supply, the cost of manufacturing and importing these battery metals has grown rapidly over recent years as demand has grown at a far faster pace than new supply can enter the market.
- Environmental Impact of Supply, the mining of these battery metals can result in the emission of large amounts of greenhouse gases, air pollutants, and contaminated water and soil.
American Battery Technology Company is addressing all three of these challenges by developing technologies and commercializing systems for the recycling of lithium-ion batteries and the recovery of constituent battery metals as well as for the production of battery metals directly from primary mineral resources in the Western US to create a closed-loop circular economy for the domestic US battery manufacturing supply chain.
ABTC’s in-house technology development and commercialization efforts for the domestic manufacturing of battery cathode grade lithium hydroxide directly support US federal efforts to reduce dependence on foreign sources of these critical materials that may not adhere to sufficient ethical and environmental standards for battery metals sourcing and manufacturing. The construction and commissioning of ABTC’s Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Pilot Plant remains the company’s primary focus, however the magnitude of the entire battery recycling industry combined cannot meet the nearly insatiable near-term demand for these critical and strategic battery metals on its own. Recycling facilities must be supplemented by low-cost, low-environmental impact, and domestic primary battery metal manufacturing facilities in order to establish a truly secure closed-loop circular battery metals supply chain.