Promoting circulative resources via recycling of automotive lithium-ion batteries (LiBs)
[Company / organization] JX Nippon Mining & Metals Corporation
Time started (or to be started)
2010: Beginning of test operation of LiB recycling at the Tsuruga Plant to recover metallic cobalt, metallic nickel, lithium carbonate, and manganese carbonate from scraps generated in the cathode material manufacturing process.
2015: Start of demonstrated operation at the Tsuruga Plant to recover metallic cobalt, metallic nickel, lithium carbonate, and manganese carbonate from discarded cathode materials and spent consumer LiBs.
2020: Start operation of Bench Scale equipment to recover high grade metal salts from automotive LiBs
First half 2021: Plan to start recovering high-purity nickel sulfate at Tsuruga plant.
First half 2022: Plan to start recovering high-purity cobalt sulfate at Tsuruga plant.
From 2030: Aim to promote circular economy by commercialization of our projcet.
Technology and business model
Using finite natural resources efficiently and preventing environmental pollution are essential for the sustainable growth of the entire world. JX Nippon Mining & Metals is promoting the circular use of nonferrous metal resources that are used to manufacture automotive LIBs through developing and commercializing our unique and efficient recycling technology.
With the widespread use of electric vehicles (EVs),the generation in large numbers of EoL automotive LIBs from 2030 onward is expected. At present, most of these batteries are treated as industrial wastes, in spite that the cobalt, nickel, lithium, and other minor metals used in LiBs are a precious resource. The sustainable growth of the EV market in future will depend on the inmmediate system counstruction of a recycling and reuse for EoL LiBs, in addition to the development of alternative materials for LIBs.
JX Nippon Mining & Metals have focused on the recycling of these minor metals in LIBs from early on, and has been processing spent consumer LiBs used in household appliances, computers, and other consumer electronics. Baes on our technology and experiences, we have established a new process for recovering high-grade metal salts from EoL automotive LiBs. This process consists of the heat pre-treating EoL LIBs to detoxify of hardous substances used in them, the leaching of nickel, cobalt, and lithium in black mass by acid, and the separating and recovering the metals by our unique solvent extraction technology. With this process, we plan to realize a closed-loop recycling system in which we directly recover high-grade cobalt sulfate, nickel sulfate, and lithium carbonate from automotive LIBs and supply recovered materials as raw materials of new cathode material.
Also, we have started the modification of the Tsuruga plant to demonstrate our developed prcess that it will enable metal salts recovery in tonnes.
The renovation of the Tsuruga plant will accelerate the demonstration of closed-loop recycling of LIB.
Achievements and goals
By 2040, We aim to achieve the following recovery rates those are indicated in proposed EU Battery Regulation for metals.
Co > 95%, Ni > 95%, Li > 70%
Special webpage for trade fairs and exhibitions, JX Nippon Mining & Metals website
Website of the Resources Recycling Promotion Center, Japan Environmental Management Association for Industry
Webpage showcasing JX Nippon Mining & Metals' technology strengths, JX Nippon Mining & Metals website
Challenge Zero, Keidanren website
News release, JX Nippon Mining & Metals website
- Individual company
- Initiatives for the future
- Case/initiative by individual company