Aqua Metals and LiNiCo have made significant progress in moving their environmentally superior lithium-ion battery (LiB) recycling process from concept to execution to meet the growing global demand for lithium-ion batteries.
Lithium-ion batteries power the surging EV market, data centers, and expanding utility-scale storage of renewable energy. Forecasts predict a $22.8 billion LIB recycling market by by 2030, according to Markets and Markets.
In 2021, LiNiCo entered into a lease agreement to buy the Aqua Metals plant in McCarran. The 12-acre site and $200M invested were used to commercialize Aqua Metals' clean, closed-loop hydrometallurgical recycling technology now being licensed to lead battery recyclers.
This strategic alliance enables Aqua Metals to apply its AquaRefining process to LiB recycling. Already, the partnership has yielded promising results, with both companies meeting vital benchmarks, paving the way for end-to-end recycling within a year.
LinNiCo has built a novel crushing and separation prototype with plans to scale production by the end of 2022 and is developing other enhanced extraction technologies. Aqua Metals has successfully lab-tested cobalt plating at its Innovation Center, yielding high purity cobalt valued at $70,000/ton. By late summer or early fall 2022, Aqua Metals targets having a pilot circuit that will also process nickel, manganese, copper, and Lithium.
The two companies will combine their technologies at the plant to create an end-to-end recycling operation by late 2022 or early 2023.
The coming energy transition depends on visionary companies and strategic partnerships. Aqua Metals and LiNiCo represent both. This is where the new energy economy succeeds.