Indianapolis-based Heritage Battery Recycling LLC and smelting technology provider 6K have announced a development agreement to produce new cathode material from recycled batteries. The companies say Heritage will use its established infrastructure to collect, store and process end-of-life batteries, and Massachusetts-based 6K will provide its high-temperature plasma technology to manufacture cathode-grade battery metals from the scrap materials.
The name 6K represents 6000 degrees, the temperature of the surface of the sun and the operating temperature of 6K’s UniMelt system, which the firm calls the world's only production-scale microwave plasma system.
The company says it is currently sampling customers and developing products that can be used by makers of NMC (nickel-manganese-cobalt) and LFP (lithium iron phosphate) batteries, plus silicon dominant anode and solid-state electrolyte materials.
“This agreement represents the first true circular economy approach to battery recycling,” says Aaron Bent, CEO of 6K. “An approach that is both sustainable and cost-effective and most importantly can be domestically produced. It is clear that we need to recycle materials in order to ensure the sustainability of our domestic battery supply chain, and Heritage is the perfect partner in this endeavor. Their operational expertise has been demonstrated over the past 50 years of offering safe and compliant solutions to their customers, and this partnership will greatly accelerate deployment of 6K’s cathode product into the market.”
Heritage Battery Recycling, Heritage Environmental Services and Heritage Crystal Clean will all contribute to build a national collection network for sourcing spent battery feedstock, the firms say.
“6K is a leader in the materials management field and are the perfect partner to work with on creating a circular, sustainable solution to produce cathode material for new batteries,” says Shane Thompson, president of Heritage Battery Recycling. “This is a breakthrough, as 6K’s process is massively less energy, water- and carbon-intensive. It will redefine how we produce batteries.”