Nth Cycle, a metal processing and recycling technology company based in Boston, has begun commercial operations of its patented electro-extraction mining and refining technology. Electro-extraction technology is a low-cost alternative to conventional pyrometallurgy and hydrometallurgy processes that are currently used by mining companies and battery recyclers.
“As the world moves towards an electrified, net-zero future, we should strive to ensure the tools of that transition are as clean as the future we envision,” says Megan O’Connor, co-founder and chief executive officer of Nth Cycle. “The Inflation Reduction Act will dramatically accelerate critical mineral mining and refining activity in the U.S. through stringent ‘localized’ requirements for the critical minerals used to make the batteries that power electric vehicles. We expect Nth Cycle’s electro-extraction technology to be a pivotal solution in closing the resulting gap between supply and demand for domestic critical materials through cost-effective, efficient and environmentally conscious refining at home.”
Nth Cycle began operation of its first commercial-scale electro-extraction unit—called the OYSTER—in August. According to a news release from Nth Cycle, the unit will process a range of materials for validation with the company’s near-term partners and is currently processing black mass, the end product from mechanical separation of end-of-life batteries.
“The successful operation of our first commercial-scale unit opens the door for us to deploy our technology widely and quickly,” says Chris Thoren, vice president of engineering at Nth Cycle. “We are currently upgrading postindustrial waste to produce [nickel mixed hydroxide precipitate], an important material that allows car manufacturers to comply with the new electric vehicle tax credit. With a current footprint of only a few thousand square feet, our system deploys easily in the field in a matter of months, as opposed to the years it typically takes to build and begin operations for traditional refining facilities.”
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