Emma Roth | Sep 11 2023 – 3:04 PM MDT
Published by The Verge

We could soon see more lithium-ion batteries made with recycled materials thanks to a new partnership. BASF, a battery materials producer, has announced that it’s teaming up with Nanotech Energy, a maker of graphene-based energy products, to produce lithium-ion batteries with recycled materials for customers in North America.

While BASF will create the cathode active materials using recycled metals from a Battle Creek, Michigan facility, Nanotech will use those materials to create the lithium-ion battery cells. Making the batteries with recycled metals could decrease their CO2 footprint by around 25 percent, according to BASF.

Additionally, BASF and Nanotech Energy will also work with the American Battery Technology Company (ABTC) and the Canada-based TODA Advanced Materials Inc. ABTC will recycle the materials gathered by Nanotech, such as nickel, cobalt, manganese, and lithium. TODA will then use the materials to create battery precursors, which BASF will then convert into cathode active materials.

Lithium-ion batteries are commonly found in other devices, such as cellphones, tablets, laptops, power tools, and other tech, but some of the biggest batteries go inside electric vehicles. Not only do these hefty batteries require more minerals, but they can also create a massive e-waste problem when thrown away, creating a need for better recycling programs.

“Our partnership with Nanotech, ABTC, and TODA marks an important step for BASF’s global battery recycling business,” Daniel Schönfelder, BASF’s vice president of battery base metals and recycling, says in a statement. “Now, we are establishing the first closed-loop system in North America. This enables BASF and Nanotech to produce lithium-ion batteries with locally recycled content.”

As the production of EVs continues to ramp up, the Biden administration has been working to build out the lithium battery supply chain and recycling programs in the US. Last year, the Department of Energy announced it would give $3.1 billion to fund companies establishing battery production facilities. In June, the Department of Energy also announced that it would provide $192 million in funding to promote battery recycling.