12 Leading Battery Recycling Companies Paving the Way to a Guilt-Free Future [2024 review]

As renewable energy sources gain traction, with solar and wind expected to generate 33% of global electricity by 2024, the dark side of green technology is coming to light: battery waste.  Around 2.9 billion batteries are sent to landfills in the US annually.

However, a new breed of companies is emerging to tackle this crisis head-on. This article explores 12 trailblazing battery recycling companies that address environmental concerns and tap into a market projected to reach $24.57 billion by 2027.

These innovators pave the way for a sustainable energy future, from hydrometallurgical processes to direct cathode recycling.

The Importance of Battery Recycling

Battery recycling has become a critical component in pursuing sustainable energy solutions. The global demand for lithium-ion batteries is projected to increase fivefold, reaching 4,000 GWh annually by 2030

However, this surge could lead to 12 million metric tons of battery waste by the same year without proper recycling.

The environmental impact is significant, as batteries contain toxic materials that can contaminate soil and water if improperly disposed of. Moreover, the production of new batteries is resource-intensive.

A single electric vehicle battery requires up to 8 kg of lithium, 35 kg of nickel, and 20 kg of cobalt.

Efficient recycling can recover up to 95% of these valuable materials.  This reduces the need for new mining operations, often contributing to deforestation and carbon emissions.

Renewable sources are expected to generate 38% of global electricity by 2025. Sustainable battery management is urgently needed to achieve long-term environmental goals.

Here is a video from VDI Zentrum Ressourceneffizienz about closing the loop in lithium-ion battery recycling

The Growth of the Battery Recycling Industry

The meteoric rise of EV car battery recycling companies and lithium-ion battery recycling companies is a significant trend in the industry. Companies like Li-Cycle, Redwood Materials, and Umicore are leading the charge in developing innovative recycling technologies and processes.

These companies focus on recovering valuable materials like lithium, cobalt, and nickel from used batteries. The metals can then be reused in new battery production.

This approach reduces the environmental impact of battery production, helps conserve natural resources, and reduces the demand for raw materials mined from the earth.

The increasing demand for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage systems now drives the growth of the battery recycling market. This has resulted in a significant waste of batteries that need to be recycled.

EV Battery Waste

12 Leading Battery Recycling Companies

Here is a selection of the top companies leading the industry in battery recycling while finding innovative new ways to tackle this serious problem.

recyclico_logo

RecycLiCo

HQ Location
Vancouver, Canada
Founded
1987
Num. of Employees
1-10
RecycLiCo Homepage

RecycLiCo Battery Materials is a critical metals company that specializes in sustainable lithium-ion battery recycling and materials production.

The company has developed advanced technologies to recover up to 99% of cathode metals like lithium, cobalt, nickel, and manganese from battery waste and upcycle them into high-purity, battery-ready materials.

RecycLiCo’s patented closed-loop recycling process is highly adaptable, modular, and energy-efficient, enabling on-site battery recycling at battery factories and recycling operations.

The company holds multiple patents for its recycling technology and is pursuing commercialization through joint ventures with strategic partners.

High Recovery Rate

RecycLiCo recovers up to 99% of cathode metals from battery waste, including lithium, cobalt, nickel, and manganese.

Closed-Loop Process

The patented process is highly adaptable, modular, and energy-efficient, allowing for on-site recycling at battery factories and recycling operations. This closed-loop process enables the direct integration of the resultant chemicals into new battery materials on site.

Sustainable and Environmentally Friendly

The process has undergone an ISO-compliant life cycle assessment (LCA) reviewed by independent experts, which indicates a substantial reduction in global warming potential compared to mining and other hydrometallurgical processes. This results in a 62% reduction in CO2 emissions.

Commercial Modular Plant Design

RecycLiCo’s modular plant design enables on-site battery recycling globally, making it a viable solution for battery manufacturers and recycling operations.

Patented Technology

The company holds multiple patents for its recycling technology and has recently secured additional patents in India and other countries. This technology has been successfully tested and demonstrated at their 6,700-square-foot demonstration plant.

Ecobat logo

Ecobat

HQ Location
Dallas, Texas
Founded
1938
Num. of Employees
1,001-5,000
Ecobat

Ecobat Battery is a global leader in battery recycling and lead production, leveraging cutting-edge technologies and a network of facilities to develop innovative products for efficient and reliable energy storage solutions.

The company is committed to a closed-loop recycling system, recycling over 95% of scrap batteries and managing vital resources through a sustainable supply chain.

With operations spanning Europe and the United States, Ecobat aims to transform resources to power a more connected and sustainable world.

Closed-loop recycling system

Ecobat manages the entire recycling process from collection to production of new materials, maximizing the recyclability and return from used batteries.

Extensive global network

Ecobat has 11 smelting facilities and over 65,000 battery collection points, providing seamless service for battery collection and recycling across Europe and North America.

Commitment to sustainability

Ecobat is focused on responsible production and recycling to help meet growing energy demand while minimizing environmental impact. Over 80% of the lead Ecobat provides comes from recycling.

Diversified recycling capabilities

In addition to lead-acid batteries, Ecobat also manages the collection and recycling of other battery chemistries, including lithium-ion.

Industry leadership

Ecobat is recognized as a global leader in battery recycling, leveraging cutting-edge technologies to power the circular economy.

LG logo

LG Energy Solution

HQ Location
Seoul, Korea
Founded
1992
Num. of Employees
10 000+
LG Energy Solution Hompage

LG Energy Solution Ltd. is a leading global battery company headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. It was spun off from LG Chem in 2020 to meet growing demand for electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

The company is one of the largest battery makers in the world, with a market share of 14% globally.

LG Energy Solution is dedicated to developing innovative battery technologies, including lithium-ion and next-generation batteries, and has made significant investments in startups like Sion Power to solidify its leadership in the industry

Closed-loop recycling system

LG Energy Solution has established a closed-loop recycling system at its Nanjing plant in China, where non-reusable batteries and production scraps are collected and recycled, with the extracted materials reinjected back into the production process.

Strategic partnerships for end-of-life battery collection

LG Energy Solution has secured strategic partnerships with leading recyclers globally to establish an end-of-life battery collection system, ensuring a stable supply of waste batteries and scraps for its recycling initiatives.

Extraction of valuable materials

Through its recycling process, LG Energy Solution aims to extract valuable materials such as nickel, cobalt, lithium, and graphite from end-of-life batteries and production scraps, which can then be reused in new battery production.

Commitment to sustainability and environmental impact reduction

LG Energy Solution’s battery recycling efforts are part of its broader ESG strategy, as the company aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, prevent resource depletion, and minimize the environmental impact of its operations.

 

Li-Cycle Logo

Li-Cycle

HQ Location
Toronto, Canada
Founded
2016
Num. of Employees
201-500
Li-cycle Homepage

Li-Cycle Holdings Corp. (NYSE: LICY) is a leading global lithium-ion battery resource recovery company. Established in 2016, Li-Cycle uses its patented Spoke & Hub Technologies to recover critical materials from lithium-ion batteries and reintroduce them into the supply chain.

The company aims to create a closed-loop battery supply chain with a high recovery rate of up to 95%. Li-Cycle has major customers and partners and has received significant funding, including a $375 million last funding roun

High Recovery Rate

Li-Cycle’s patented Spoke & Hub Technologies enable the recovery of up to 95% of key materials in lithium-ion batteries, including lithium, nickel, and cobalt.

This high recovery rate is achieved through a two-stage process: mechanical shredding at the Spoke facilities and hydrometallurgical processing at the Hub facilities.

Sustainable and Environmentally Friendly

Li-Cycle’s process is designed to be environmentally sustainable, producing minimal wastewater and low emissions.

The wet-chemistry approach used at the Hub facilities is more energy-efficient and ecologically advantageous compared to traditional high-temperature smelting methods.

Closed-Loop Recycling

Li-Cycle’s process closes the loop between lithium-ion batteries’ end-of-life and manufacturing phases.

The recovered materials are reintroduced into the supply chain, ensuring a continuous and sustainable flow of recycled materials. This approach reduces the demand for virgin materials and supports the development of a circular battery supply chain.

Redwood Materials logo

Redwood Materials

HQ Location
Nevada, USA
Founded
2017
Num. of Employees
501-1000
Redwood Materials Homepage

Redwood Materials focuses on recycling and repurposing materials from used lithium-ion batteries. They aim to recover and recycle up to 95% of the materials from these batteries, including copper, lithium, cobalt, and nickel.

Redwood Materials uses a method called reductive calcination to break down the battery components and make them ready for further processing and recycling.

The company is committed to creating a circular supply chain by utilizing scraps of material that would otherwise be wasted during production. This reduces waste and costs for businesses while contributing to a more sustainable future.

Recycling Method

This company  uses a method called reductive calcination to break down the battery components and make them ready for further processing and recycling. This process allows them to recover and recycle up to 95% of the materials from these batteries, including copper, lithium, cobalt, and nickel.

Circular Supply Chain

They create a circular supply chain by utilizing scraps of material that would otherwise be wasted during production. These scraps are returned to raw materials and then placed back into the supply chain, greatly reducing both waste and cost. This approach helps businesses save money while reducing their carbon footprint.

Partnerships

Redwood Materials has formed partnerships with major companies such as Panasonic, Ford, Amazon, and Toyota. These partnerships enable the company to collect and recycle batteries from these companies and then supply the recycled materials back into the battery manufacturing process.

Expansion and Scalability

Redwood Materials is expanding its operations to meet the growing demand for battery materials. The company is investing in scaling its technology and facilities to supply U.S. battery cell manufacturers and automakers with strategic battery materials produced domestically. They are also breaking ground on a second facility in South Carolina to increase production capacity

Cirba Solutions logo

Cirba Solutions

HQ Location
Charlotte, NC, USA
Founded
1991
Num. of Employees
201-500
Cirba Homepage

Cirba Solutions is a leading battery recycling platform in the United States, specializing in recycling lithium-ion batteries. With over 30 years of operating history, Cirba operates five facilities capable of processing approximately 15 million pounds of lithium-ion batteries annually.

The company has a strong presence across the USA, with over 150 collection points and a network of over 10,000 pickup locations. Cirba’s mission is to provide a circular economy solution for hazardous battery waste, reducing reliance on virgin materials and promoting sustainability in the electric vehicle industry

Full-Service Operator

Cirba Solutions handles all aspects of battery recycling, from collection and packaging to transportation, storage, and processing. This includes over 10,000 pickup locations and over 1,300 collection vehicles across the United States.

Extensive Facilities

The company operates five existing facilities capable of shredding and recycling approximately 15 million pounds of lithium-ion batteries annually. These facilities are strategically located in Wixom, Michigan; Mesa, Arizona; Baltimore and Lancaster, Ohio; Brea, California; Trail, British Columbia; and Eloy, Arizona.

Logistics Network

It has a robust logistics network, including over 10,000 pickup locations and over 1,300 collection vehicles. This extensive network allows for efficient and safe transportation of batteries to processing facilities.

Processing Capabilities

Cirba Solutions can process a wide range of battery chemistries, including lithium-ion, lead-acid, and nickel-cadmium. The company’s facilities are designed to handle the specific requirements of each battery type, ensuring efficient and effective recycling.

Sustainability Focus

It emphasizes sustainability and safety in its operations. The company aims to reduce reliance on virgin materials sourced from geopolitically unstable regions and to contribute to the circular economy by recycling hazardous battery waste.

Umicore logo

Umicore

HQ Location
Brussels, Belgium
Founded
1805
Num. of Employees
10,001+
Umicore Homepage

Umicore is a global materials technology and recycling company that delivers sustainable solutions to address global megatrends like mobility transformation and the need for advanced materials.

The company is uniquely positioned to help the world transition to cleaner mobility through its portfolio of activities in automotive catalysts, battery materials and recycling, and fuel cells.

Proprietary Process

Umicore combines pyro- and hydrometallurgy to recover valuable metals from spent batteries. This two-step process is more efficient and environmentally friendly than alternative methods.

High Recovery Yields

The process achieves high recovery yields of over 95% for nickel, copper, and cobalt and over 70% for lithium from various battery production scraps and end-of-life batteries.

Cost Efficiency

Umicore’s process is 20-30% more cost-efficient than other methods, resulting in lower production costs and carbon footprint.

Low Carbon Footprint

The process efficiently uses the chemical energy present in the input materials, reducing the overall carbon footprint. Excess energy can even be converted into steam or electricity.

Scalability

Umicore plans to significantly increase its capacity. A 150,000-tonne battery recycling plant in Europe is expected to be operational by 2026, making it the largest battery recycling plant in Europe.

Automated Material Flow

The latest generation of Umicore’s recycling technology features automated material flow, which minimizes manual handling and increases process robustness and efficiency.

Umicore logo

Fortum Battery Recycling

HQ Location
Harjavalta, Finland
Founded
2005
Num. of Employees
201-500
Fortum Homepage

Fortum Battery Recycling is a leading provider of low-CO2 battery recycling solutions for lithium-ion batteries. They operate Europe’s largest closed-loop hydrometallurgical battery recycling facility in Finland, which recycles over 80% of the battery and 95% of the valuable metals in the black mass.

Fortum has also collaborated with Terrafame to utilize the recovered metals in battery chemical production, contributing to a more sustainable value chain for the European battery manufacturing industry.

Additionally, they have signed a memorandum of understanding with AMG Lithium to supply recycled lithium products, further enhancing the closed-loop recycling process.

Low-CO2 Recycling Solution

Fortum’s low-CO2 recycling processes turn lithium, cobalt, manganese, and nickel back into raw materials for new batteries, recycling over 80% of the battery and 95% of the valuable metals contained in its black mass.

Mechanical and Hydrometallurgical Technologies

Fortum uses mechanical and hydrometallurgical technologies to recover lithium, cobalt, manganese, and nickel from battery materials, enabling these metals to be reused to produce new batteries.

Closed-Loop Recycling

Fortum’s recycling process recovers critical metals from end-of-life lithium-ion batteries as well as battery production waste and produces secondary metals for new lithium-ion batteries on an industrial scale, providing a closed loop for battery recycling along the entire value chain in Europe.

Lithion logo

Lithion

HQ Location
Québec, Canada
Founded
2018
Num. of Employees
51-200

Lithion is a green-tech startup specializing in the sustainable recycling of lithium-ion batteries.

Lithion’s business model centers around providing a sustainable, affordable, and local solution for recycling lithium-ion batteries. The company aims to deploy its technology in every major city worldwide to create a circular economy for battery materials.

High Recovery Rate

Lithion’s technology allows for the recovery of up to 95% of the battery components, including nickel, cobalt, lithium, and graphite, which can then be reused to manufacture new batteries.

Efficient Processing

 Lithion uses low-temperature processes to reduce the carbon footprint and operating costs of the recycling process. It also employs mechanical crushing to break down the batteries into smaller components, making it easier to recover the valuable materials.

Sustainable and Local

Lithion aims to deploy its technology in every major city worldwide, providing a regional solution for recycling lithium-ion batteries and reducing the need for long-distance transportation.

The company’s business model centers on creating a circular economy for battery materials, where materials are recovered and reused to minimize waste and environmental impact.

Stena logo

Stena Recycling

HQ Location
Gothenburg, Sweden
Founded
1938
Num. of Employees
1,001-5,000

Stena Recycling is a leading European recycling company that offers comprehensive recycling and circular services. It operates in several countries, including Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Poland, Italy, and the USA, and serves a wide range of industries.

The company aims to create a truly circular society where nothing goes to waste, providing reliable waste collection, innovative reuse services, and advanced recycling processes.

Recycling Capacity and Expansion

Stena Recycling has established a logistic network and pre-treatment network across seven countries to facilitate and safely concentrate recycling volumes to their industrial hub in Halmstad, Sweden. The hub has an initial yearly recycling capacity of 10,000 tons, with plans to scale up to handle at least five to ten times higher volumes within ten years.

Circular Approach

Stena Recycling aims to recycle 95% of lithium-ion batteries, meeting the EU’s strict new long-term requirements. The company invests in battery centers in various countries to enable local collection close to customers’ businesses, promoting a circular approach to battery production.

Partnerships and Collaborations

Stena Recycling has partnered with BASF to develop a battery recycling value chain for the European electric vehicle battery market.
The partnership involves collecting, assessing, and pre-treating end-of-life batteries and battery production scrap to produce black mass, which is then further processed by BASF to recover valuable metals.

Energy Recovery and Sustainable Practices

Stena Recycling captures and uses the residual energy left in batteries, covering about 20% of the energy requirements for battery recycling in Halmstad. The remaining energy consumption comes from origin-labeled renewable electricity.

Second-Life Battery Energy Storage Systems

Stena Recycling owns BatteryLoop, which designs and deploys second-life battery energy storage systems (BESS) using batteries from its parent company. This approach helps extend the life of batteries and reduces waste.

Sustainability Goals

Stena Recycling aims to reuse 20% of batteries and is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieving net-zero targets by 2050.

Aqua Metals logo

Aqua Metals

HQ Location
Nevada, USA
Founded
2013
Num. of Employees
51-200

Aqua Metals is a pioneering company in sustainable lithium-ion battery recycling. The company has developed a patented AquaRefining technology that uses an electricity-powered electroplating process to recover valuable metals and materials from spent batteries with higher purity, lower emissions, and minimal waste compared to traditional recycling methods.

Aqua Metals is advancing its commercial partnerships, progressing the buildout of its Sierra ARC Phase One commercial facility, and fortifying its capitalization to realize its vision of a circular supply chain for sustainable battery materials.

Sustainable AquaRefining process

Aqua Metals has developed a patented AquaRefining technology that uses electricity-powered electroplating to recover valuable metals and materials from spent batteries, rather than relying on polluting furnaces or hazardous chemicals.

Higher purity, lower emissions

The AquaRefining process allows Aqua Metals to recover battery materials with higher purity and lower emissions compared to traditional recycling methods.

Minimal waste

Aqua Metals’ process reduces landfill waste by up to 95% compared to current battery recycling practices.

Commercial-scale operations

Aqua Metals has successfully commissioned its pilot facility and is now scaling up to full commercial-scale processing of battery materials, with plans to supply recycled materials to battery manufacturers.

American Battery Technology Company logo

American Battery Technology Company

HQ Location
Nevada, USA
Founded
2011
Num. of Employees
51-200
ABTC Homepage

American Battery Technology Company (ABTC) is a US-based battery recycling technology startup founded in 2011. The company employs a hydrometallurgical process to recycle batteries and a targeted extraction system to extract raw materials from primary resources.

The company is headquartered in Reno, Nevada, and operates several facilities in the state, including a lithium-ion battery recycling plant and primary resource development sites. ABTC is committed to sustainability and aims to provide low-cost, low-environmental impact, domestically sourced battery metals through its three core operations.

Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling

ABTC employs a hydrometallurgical process to recycle lithium-ion batteries and extract raw materials from primary resources. This process helps reduce the environmental impact and cost associated with conventional methods of sourcing battery metals.

Primary Battery Metal Extraction Technologies

The company uses targeted extraction systems to extract battery metals from primary resources. This ensures a reliable and sustainable supply of critical battery materials for the electric vehicle, grid storage, and consumer electronics industries.

Primary Resources Development

ABTC is actively involved in exploring and developing new lithium-bearing sedimentary resources in Nevada. This includes the Tonopah Flats Lithium Project, which has identified one of the largest lithium deposits in the US.

Commercialization of First-of-Its-Kind Facilities

ABTC has received significant funding and grants to build commercial-scale facilities for manufacturing battery cathode-grade lithium hydroxide from unconventional Nevada-based lithium-bearing sedimentary resources. This includes a $57 million grant from the Department of Energy to construct a first-of-its-kind facility.

Conclusion

The growing demand for lithium-ion batteries poses significant environmental challenges. However, innovative battery recycling companies are leading the charge toward closed-loop sustainable energy.

The future of energy storage is not just about creating better batteries but also about responsibly managing their end-of-life.

By recovering up to 95% of valuable materials and reducing the need for new mining operations, these companies mitigate environmental impacts and contribute to a more circular economy.

These innovators are redefining what’s possible in battery recycling, turning a potential environmental crisis into an opportunity for sustainable growth.

Their success will ensure that our increasing reliance on battery-powered devices and renewable energy storage doesn’t continue to harm our planet’s health.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the current challenges faced by battery recyclers?

One major challenge is the limited supply of used batteries, with many recyclers relying on manufacturer scrap and hoping that battery lifetimes will increase to provide more feedstock.

What happens to batteries that aren't recycled?

Unrecycled batteries often end up in landfills, where toxic materials can leak into the soil and water, causing pollution and health risks. Improper incineration can also release toxic fumes into the air.

What role does battery recycling play in reducing dependence on raw material mining for renewable energy technologies?

Battery recycling plays a crucial role in this process. By recovering valuable materials like lithium, cobalt, and nickel from used batteries, recycling lessens the demand for new raw material extraction.

It also conserves natural resources, and supports a more sustainable and circular supply chain for renewable energy technologies.

References

EPANational Overview: Facts and Figures on Materials, Wastes and Recycling

World Economic ForumsA Vision for a Sustainable Battery Value Chain in 2030

Wood MackenzieGlobal lithium-ion battery capacity to rise five-fold by 2030

 

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
Scroll to Top