General Motors makes strategic investment in Lithion Recycling

GM & Lithion Recycling to develop viable EV battery recycling method

GM is investing in Lithion Recycling to support a sustainable circular battery ecosystem. Both companies together will be working on developing a viable battery recycling method. It will reduce the usage of critical minerals.

General Motors makes strategic investment in Lithion Recycling
Image credits- Seeking Alpha

On Thursday GM announced its investment. The strategy is implemented as global supply chain challenges continue due to the pandemic. Automakers are rushing to lock up deals to ensure they will have adequate supply to achieve their targets. With few EVs nearing retirement, battery recycling is still in its early stages. However, it can be a critical factor in relieving supply chain issues.

As more automakers join the march for sustainable transportation, releasing their own electric vehicle models, the question becomes how can we reuse these materials to lower costs and ease supply chains going forward. For example, the price of lithium carbonate, one of the minerals that are extracted to use in EV batteries, is up over 200% in the past year. With the Inflation Reduction Act passed in August, the demand for electric vehicles is only expected to continue rising as new incentives are rolled out.

Battery recycling

The US Department of Energy is doing its part by launching the ReCell Center, an advanced battery recycling R&D facility. The organization says recycling battery materials to be reused can help. “Drive down the overall production cost of electric vehicle batteries to the national goal of $80/kWh or under.” 

The ReCell Center focuses primarily on direct recycling methods, such as direct cathode recycling, which retains the battery’s key components while requiring minimal energy consumption. GM’s new strategic partnership will help advance programs like this as it focuses on future battery design for efficient recycling. GM’s investment unit is strategically investing in Lithion Recycling’s Series A funding round.

Lithion’s technology has a 95% recovery rate while using Quebec’s leading green energy sources, which third-party lifecycle analysis showing the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75% and water usage by over 90% when compared to mining. Jeff Morrison, GM’s vice president of global purchasing and supply chain, talks about the automaker’s EV strategy and how the new partnership can help them get there. He stated, “GM is aggressively scaling battery cell and EV production in North America to reach our target of more than 1 million units of annual capacity by 2025, and we plan to eliminate tailpipe emissions from all our new light-duty vehicles by 2035, so we are building a supply chain and recycling strategy that can grow with us.”