In a partnership, Princeton NuEnergy and Wistron brought a pilot-direct lithium-ion battery recycling line online in Texas via installing the technology on Wistron’s electronics recycling subsidiary company, Wistron GreenTech’s site in McKinney. The pilot line debuted a plasma-based recovery process that performs cathode-to-cathode and anode-to-anode recycling without chemical leaching by shredding the batteries, performing a physical separation of raw cathode and anode material, then plasma purification.
With a federal grant for a new facility secured by Cirba Solutions, the process of moving domestic lithium-ion battery recycling can continue. According to Wistron, the process can recover cathode and anode materials pure enough for direct reintroduction into cell manufacturing at a 40 percent cost reduction compared to other methods, and reduces CO2 emissions by 70 percent.
In a statement, the company explained that the process offers “a low cost, a low carbon footprint, and no hazardous emissions–all at a high recycling efficiency rate.” The company also explained that conventional methods such as pyro- and hydro-metallurgical processes “damage the cathode compound, take lengthy steps to just go half-way through the cathode regeneration and induce a lot more chemical energy waste.”
In 2021, Princeton NuEnergy raised $7 million in seed funding, and prior funding via multiple grants and awards, and plans to install more than 20 production lines across North America by 2028.
Founder and CEO of the Princeton startup, Yan Chao, said in a press release that “we intend to be a major player in meeting the recycling needs of the US LIB marketplace. Our unique technology drastically reduces the time required for critical materials to re-enter the manufacturing supply chain–a major win for all LIB manufacturers.”