Battery recycling: Understanding the barriers and innovations in the market

Watch this video interview with David Klanecky, CEO of Cirba Solutions, to learn more about the innovations we're seeing in the battery recycling industry and how these could address the lithium supply shortage

In this video interview, we spoke with the CEO from Cirba Solutions, David Klanecky, to get his thoughts on the barriers to the advancement of the battery recycling industry. He also gave us his insights into the innovations that are helping to advance the battery recycling industry as a way to help solve the lithium supply deficit.

Watch the full video interview with David or read the key takeaways below.

What are the top three barriers to the advancement of battery recycling?

1. Processing speed
The challenge for a lot of companies is going to be how fast you can build the assets to be able to process the demand that’s coming in from the electric vehicle (EV) market. The team at Cirba Solutions is trying to figure out how fast they are able to put assets in the ground to be able to process those materials for recycling.

2. Collection
When you look at the US, it’s a very large country, and being able to have regionalized areas where you can collect materials and move them cost-effectively and safely to your processing facilities is another challenge.

3. Permits and environmental footprint
From an operational perspective, companies want to make sure they have the right facilities that are permitted properly and able to operate in a sustainable way. This is key to the future.

What innovations are you seeing in battery recycling that will help advance the industry?

There is a lot of room for innovation if a battery recycler is able to take a black mass material to a refined material – especially chemical salt.

Cirba Solutions is focused on developing a battery-grade metal salt that can go back into the supply chain and integrate back into the ecosystem.

Technology developments are also going on in this space as a way to scale to meet the demand from the EV industry. There’s always going to be a need to process material and find new resources to extract those materials from. In battery recycling, you want to be able to recycle these materials over and over again so the focus should be on making sure you create an ecosystem you can integrate your whole supply chain and the materials you use.

Recycling will be a resource that the industry will definitely need and use to build new batteries as it responds to the growing demand from battery and auto makers.

What is on the long-term horizon for battery recycling? Will it take off?

The industry has taken off and is advancing quickly. Cirba Solutions is profitable today and is excited about the process. “We’re already in the air, flying,” says David.

Read more about the role of battery recycling in EV growth

Recycling will play a key role in the growth and success of the energy transition, but will limited material hold back the industry? In Fastmarkets’ latest battery raw materials risk matrix report, we discuss how a lack of recycling material could impact the EV market and provide forecasts for available recycling scrap to 2032.

You can read the full report here, which also includes insights into the other factors at play in the risky road ahead for the EV market.

Visit our dedicated battery raw materials page to discover more insights on the factors at play in the industry in 2022 and beyond.

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