Australian Battery Recycling Start up Renewable Metals Scoops Up $8 Million

Australian Battery Recycling Start up Renewable Metals Scoops Up $8 Million With IRA Boost, Energy Storage Demand Likely To Surge Six-Fold: SEIA

Perth-based firm Renewable Metals has raised an AUD $8 million in funding from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), to scale up its battery recycling technology. Lithium ion battery recycling has been a focus area for many startups around the world, as the case is extremely strong on both environment and economic grounds, thanks to the high cost of these batteries.

CEFC made the investment through its subsidiary firms Virescent Ventures.  Investible, an Asia-pacific early stage VC led the investment in this round.

Renewable Metals claims it can extract over 95% of the lithium, as well as high amounts of nickel, cobalt, copper and manganese from lithium-ion batteries while bypassing the process of grinding down the batteries into a substance called ‘black mass’. It will use the funding to set up a pilot plant, to be eventually expanded to a plant capable of processing 1500 tonnes of battery waste in a year. The hope is to scale up to 15000 tonnes by the end of the decade, as the volume of batteries ending the waste cycle go up with higher EV use and battery use more broadly.

The firm’s cleaner, more efficient process is based on using an alkali-based leach instead of acid – a process that leads to higher recovery, is more energy efficient and chemically less intensive.  The firm claims that it is particularly relevant in recovering materials from LFP or Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries, which are gaining quickly in marketshare and use cases, as compared to the much more expensive NMC or Lithium Ion batteries.

Lithium battery recycling is picking up pace in India as well, with firms like Lohum and Attero claiming similarly high levels of extraction from used batteries. And in cases, delivering pharma grade Lithium to buyers. The good news is that worldwide, the success with lead acid recycling has laid the groundwork for the policies that can make it work.

CEFC seeks to be Australia’s ‘green bank’. With access to more than $30 billion from the Australian Government, it is mandated to back economy-wide decarbonisation, from renewable energy and natural capital to energy efficiency, alternative fuels and low carbon materials. It is also focused on transforming the energy grid, backing sustainable housing and supporting the growth of climate tech innovators.

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Prasanna Singh

Prasanna has been a media professional for over 20 years. He is the Group Editor of Saur Energy International