Canary Media APR 2023 / by Julian Spector / Read original article
Getting rid of old batteries can be a hassle. But for recycling startup Ascend Elements, other people’s garbage is basically a gold mine, if not better.
The Massachusetts-based company opened a recycling plant in Covington, Georgia in late March that it says is the largest electric-vehicle battery recycling facility in North America. It can process 30,000 metric tons of input each year, breaking down old batteries and prepping the most valuable materials inside to be processed and turned into new batteries. That capacity equates to breaking down the battery packs from 70,000 electric vehicles annually, said Ascend CEO Mike O’Kronley. For context, Redwood Materials, another battery recycling startup, told us its Nevada facility is already processing 40,000 metric tons of input annually, equivalent to around 100,000 battery packs.*
This is an early example of a nationwide movement to cost-effectively recycle and repurpose EV batteries as more and more drivers go electric. In previous decades, companies hadn’t invested much in lithium-ion recycling, but investment soared in the last few years to match the spiking demand for battery materials.
Recycling can deliver new battery materials without the expense and environmental impact of new mining. It is extremely hard to develop new mines in the U.S., but the federal government is lavishing funds on new battery recycling plants. The revamped EV tax credits also call for increasing shares of domestically sourced batteries and battery materials.
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