Dr. York Smith, Director of Research and Development

Dr. York Smith oversees the ABTC team of scientists at the company’s Research Development Center currently located at the University of Nevada Reno’s Nevada Center for Applied Research (NCAR), focused on developing and evolving in-house, battery metals extraction technologies. Smith also supports the continued construction of ABTC’s Global Development Center, which will includes onsite analytical and process laboratories, along with pilot bays for validating next-generation technologies, and be housed in ABTC’s pre-commercial Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Plant.

The experience and leadership that York brings to our research and development team further strengthen and expand the maturation and commercialization of our battery metals extraction technologies. His prior research has significantly focused on solving some of the fundamental challenges related to materials processing and sustainability.

Meet York

Bringing over 15 years of research and development experience, Smith has an extensive background in applied sciences in chemical engineering and sustainable technology process development, with specific focuses on extractive metallurgy, electrochemistry, and non-ferrous metal recycling. He has worked as an assistant professor at the University of Utah’s Materials Science and Engineering Department for the past six years, where he recently was awarded the distinguished honor of serving as part of the Henry Krumb Lecturer Series issued by the Society of Mining, Metallurgy, & Exploration for his work focused on “Lithium: Resources, Recovery, and Recycling.”

While at the University of Utah, he led a team of interdisciplinary researchers developing innovative and sustainable technologies for lithium extraction from primary and secondary resources, including recycling technologies. Recently, a team he led – comprised of members from the University of Utah, Cornell University, and University of California Riverside – was selected as Phase I finalists in the national competition “American-Made Challenges: Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize,” hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy.

His previous roles include chief process engineer for a sensor electrode manufacturing company, and research and development engineer at the start-up Nanosynth Materials and Sensors where he hosted a talk at TEDxReno. He has also held research assistant positions at the University of Utah, University of Nevada, Reno, and the National Centre for Catalysis Research at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, with work ranging from developing catalytic materials for hydrogen generation to sensor materials for health monitoring and disease detection.

Dr. Smith received a B.S. and M.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno, and his Ph.D. in metallurgical engineering from the University of Utah. Dr. Smith was also awarded a fellowship as a postdoctoral scholar through the U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, SunShot Initiative to examine use of eddy current separation methods for recycling of end-of-life solar panels.

Smith has published extensively with over 50 journal publications and over 2,000 citations. He serves on the strategic advisory committee of The REMADE Institute, an organization of industry innovators, academic researchers, and national labs to enhance the nation’s industrial competitiveness and lead the transition to a Circular Economy in the U.S.; is currently a member of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration, serving as a Session Co-Chair for their Industrial Minerals and Aggregate Division (2020); and is an associate editor for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration, an international, peer-reviewed scientific journal. Recently, Smith also provided the science behind a collaboration of a video art installation in New York’s Time Square that was part of a larger exhibit called “Reverse Alchemy” led by Jessica Segall.