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Aqua Metals begins pilot of AquaRefining battery recycling system

Nevada-based Aqua Metals has begun operating a pilot battery recycling facility at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center. Feedstock has been introduced into the automated system, enabling recovery of valuable critical minerals from spent lithium-ion batteries.

The company’s Li AquaRefining technology is “a low-emission, closed-loop recycling solution capable of recovering all valuable metals, including high-purity lithium, manganese, cobalt and nickel from lithium batteries.”

Li AquaRefining uses electroplating powered by electricity to recover metals, instead of intensive chemical processes or polluting fossil-fuel furnaces. The process “enables low-cost and efficient production of high-purity products—drastically lowering emissions and limiting waste streams—and is designed to significantly reduce capital and operating costs.”

With the pilot facility operational, Aqua Metals anticipates the following milestones in the first quarter of 2023:

  • Achieving targeted product specs for each high-purity metal
  • Ramping of the pilot facility to process metric tons of black mass per month
  • Recovering battery-grade lithium hydroxide from spent batteries in commercial quantities

“We are confident that Aqua Metals is now positioned to be the first metals recycling facility in North America to recover battery-grade lithium hydroxide from spent batteries in commercial quantities, and to initiate sales of recycled critical minerals into both metals markets and the lithium-ion battery supply chain,” said President and CEO Steve Cotton.

“This is a foundational step for Aqua Metals as we begin scaling to demonstration capacity and subsequent full-scale commercial operations of what we believe is the world’s cleanest and lowest-cost lithium battery recycling technology,” said Chief Engineering and Operating Officer Ben Taecker. “Aqua Metals is focused on quickly advancing from the planning and validation phases to execution. We expect to initiate sales of recycled materials in the first quarter of 2023, while advancing strategic offtake agreements to expand our revenue opportunity significantly.”

Source: Aqua Metals

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