Viridi Parente Inc., a Buffalo, New York-based developer of battery technology, has shipped an initial batch of end-of-life lithium-ion batteries to Li-Cycle Corp. for recycling. Li-Cycle is based in Mississauga, Ontario, with locations in Rochester, New York, and Kingston, Ontario, where initial processing of the batteries takes place.
"It was important to us to find a recycling partner that shares our vision of growing the green economy through innovation and by minimizing the overall environmental footprint of electrification solutions,” Jon M. Williams, CEO of Viridi Parente, says. “Together with Li-Cycle, Viridi is becoming part of the solution to the global end-of-life lithium-ion battery issue.”
As of 2019, just over half of the global 180,000 metric tons of lithium-ion batteries available for recycling were recycled, according to a news release from Viridi Parente. Traditionally, this process involves smelting, which the company says results in high emissions and recovers less than 50 percent of the materials. Li-Cycle’s hydrometallurgical approach, however, recovers up to 95 percent of the materials found in lithium-ion batteries, the companies say.
The process converts manufacturing scrap and end-of-life batteries into intermediate products, including "black mass," a powder containing cobalt, nickel, lithium and other valuable elements. This operation is performed at Li-Cycle’s spoke locations. The black mass is processed through a hydrometallurgical circuit to produce battery grade-materials that can be returned to the economy. This part of the process is performed at the company’s “hubs.” In addition to its demonstration facility in Kingston, Li-Cycle is building a hub in Rochester.
"Creating a circular supply chain is a critical step in bringing battery systems to the point-of-use—to buildings and mobile applications—which is an important part of meeting the state's and our nation's key climate initiatives," Williams adds.
Viridi Parente's Green Machine business provides mobile electrification for traditionally diesel-fueled construction equipment; its Volta Energy business provides industrial, commercial, medical, municipal and residential energy consumers with backup power and the ability to manage and reduce overall consumption, the company says.
In addition to avoiding landfill disposal for its batteries, Viridi Parente says its relationship with Li-Cycle builds upon the company's pledge to facilitate the economic development of its local community and shape an energy ecosystem in New York that helps meet the state's decarbonization goals.
"This partnership with Li-Cycle is a very good example of how local companies can work together to create a fully renewable economy that benefits all, regardless of their zip code," says Dennis Elsenbeck, president of Viridi Parente.
"We have a great appreciation of Viridi Parente as we both share a commitment to the development of an energy ecosystem that prioritizes sustainability as it pertains to lithium-ion battery resource recovery," says Ajay Kochhar, President, CEO, and Co-founder of Li-Cycle.