by BENZINGA, Emily Cervone
The future of electric vehicles is imminent.
According to the International Energy Agency, global electric vehicle numbers are projected to hit 145 million by the end of 2030. Companies like Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA), Ford (NYSE: F) and General Motors (NASDAQ: GM) are focusing on producing the best electric cars, while cities mull over possible infrastructure changes to support this new venture. A world full of electric vehicles is fast approaching, and yet it seems one question that remains overlooked could be the most important of them all.
Where are all these batteries coming from?
Lithium-ion batteries are the preferred choice for electric vehicles, powering millions of people on the road each year. However, with the increased level of demand, many worry there may not be enough supply for the newfound electrification industry. One company, American Battery Technology Company (ABTC) (OTCQB: ABML), is solving this problem by using its unique mineral extraction and battery recycling process in a clean, energy-efficient way.
Because few today offer reliable and cost-efficient methods to recycle these batteries, ABTC developed its own process. Popular methods don’t filter contaminants accurately but smelt materials in blast furnaces, lose precious materials in the process and contribute to landfills and poor waste management. However, ABTC’s process offers a few key differentiating components:
- High separation of low-value byproducts
- Targeted removal of contaminants
- Deep understanding of raw materials processing, electrode manufacturing and cell/module/pack manufacturing
- Resource recovery that produces lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese, copper and aluminum with low environmental impact
The premise of ABTC’s work is this “clean technology” platform that produces primary metals used in batteries for not only electric vehicles but grid storage applications, consumer electronics and power tools. As a global leader in the critical material and lithium-ion battery recycling space, the company aims to treat used batteries as a valuable domestic resource instead of hazardous waste.
This fully automated, hands-free process strengthens the domestic supply chain with no hazardous waste or liquid discharge produced. With over 15 million tonnes of lithium-ion batteries — worth $96 billion — available globally for recycling between 2020-2030, ABTC’s process hopes to raise the meager <5% recycling rate of these batteries in the United States. In fact, the U.S. only produces 1% of global battery materials, heavily relying on foreign aid for supply. ABTC strives to provide the country with its first domestic source of lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese through its work.
In a global competition held by one of the largest cathode manufacturers in North America — BASF (ETR: BAS)— its mechanical, hydrometallurgical and resource extraction technology was the sole winner of the Battery Recycling Circularity Challenge. In winning this, ABTC receives a cash grant and support funds, contacts, entry into the BASF accelerator program, as well as access to the BASF laboratory.
ABTC plans on building the first U.S. non-thermal battery recycling plant in 2022. Located in Fernley, Nevada, their pilot plant will be a center that supports both recycling and battery metal extraction technologies, analytical lab, process lab and piloting bays. It is estimated to benefit the economy with $348 million in the first 10 years of operation.
The company recognizes that recycling alone won’t meet the current demand. It is ABTC’s focus on mining high-grade materials that sets it apart. With its highly-experienced team and environmentally-friendly work, ABTC is positioning itself as a key player in the global energy transition.