Tech start-ups race to make EV battery recycling sustainable
A clutch of start-ups, including Hong Kong’s GRST and Oregon-based OnTo Technology, as well as larger companies such as German chemicals giant BASF, are working on a water-based technology seen as a commercially viable and environmentally friendly alternative.
Under the process developed by Hong Kong’s GRST, which is backed by the founder of Taiwanese chipmaker Realtek Semiconductor and Hong Kong garment behemoth TAL Apparel, the used batteries can be dissolved in water to obtain the so-called black mass of valuable metals that make up the cathodes and anodes.
GRST, a winner of this year’s Earthshot prize for innovations to tackle climate challenges, hopes to raise $50mn in the next two years to increase production at the battery plant it co-owns in Zhejiang province. In the long term, GRST hopes to lease its water-based binder and recycling technology to other battery makers.
OnTo Technology, a recycling start-up in Oregon, has started commercial tests of a water-based binder developed by scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. BASF invested in water-based binder production at two of its factories in China this year.