Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 23

COVER STORY
Scrap from Tesla's Gigafactory will also be an important feedstock,
Georgeson said. " Even if the plant is 95% efficient, it will still produce a
lot of scrap, " she said.
Ascend Elements' recycling technology was spun off as a business
from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 2015, with the intent of creating
new cathode-active material from recycled batteries. " The cathode
is the single most expensive component of the battery, " said Roger Lin,
VP for marketing and government relations at Ascend, based in
Westborough, Massachusetts. " And cathodes are now being made only
in Asia, with little or no manufacturing capacity in the U.S. "
Ascend says its " hydro-to-cathode " process can recapture 98% of
the material in li-ion batteries. The company has pilot projects in
Massachusetts and Michigan, and is building a commercial-scale,
154,000-square-foot operation near Atlanta to open in late 2022 that
will take in material from SK Battery America's plant in Commerce,
Georgia. Since 2021, Ascend has also had Honda as a partner, with a
deal to recycle materials from Honda and Acura vehicles.
" There's a lot of activity in this space now, " Lin said. " Automakers are
OEMs realize that building EVs at volume includes end-of-life
considerations, asserts Roger Lin of Ascend Elements.
from the mine before it's used in an EV battery pack. "
She said recycled metals will make up 30% of the materials
in the company's cathodes by 2025, and its cobalt
will be 100% recycled.
Morocco, most cobalt is extracted as a byproduct
of copper or nickel production, and
that's true of Michigan's Eagle Mine, which
produces both of those metals.
Cobalt is extracted in small amounts,
along with palladium, silver and gold. The
mine is owned by Lundin, a Canadian company,
but it's the only U.S. primary producer
of nickel. Unfortunately, the mine's resources
are limited and, far from ramping up, it's
scheduled to close in 2026 unless further
supplies are found.
New mining efforts should be encouraged
by President Joe Biden's April order
that the Defense Department is to view five
metals used in EVs-cobalt, lithium, graphite,
nickel and manganese-as critical to
national security. The action will allow federal
money to pay for, among other things,
studies to determine if a proposed mine is
economically viable, or if a mine producing
one important mineral could also produce
another. Early in 2022, the Biden administration
set aside $3.1 billion to support domestic
production of batteries and key metals
lithium, cobalt and nickel.
realizing that if they want to build EVs at volume they have to think
about the end of life. It's why we're seeing all these partnerships. "
A key question is: If future EV batteries contain far less cobalt, nickel
and other metals than they do now, will recycling still be economically
viable? GM's Grewe said that the batteries in Cadillac's new Lyriq EV have
70% less cobalt than those in the Chevrolet Bolt. Lin thinks recycling will
still be viable as the amount of those metals decline, both because recyclers
will be working with older batteries that still contain large amounts
of those metals, and because lithium itself-not itself likely to disappear
from batteries anytime soon-has skyrocketed in price and value.
Sanderson agrees. " With lithium at the prices we're seeing-it's up 400
Even more important, the Inflation
Reduction Act signed by Biden in August
strongly encourages automakers to both
produce cars and source their batteries and
rare earth metals (either from mining or recycling)
from North American sources if they
want to secure the federal $7,500 tax credit.
By 2024, 40% of the minerals must be extracted
or processed in the U.S. (or a freetrade
agreement country). After 2026 the
requirement is 80% percent.
The new law has strongly stimulated
domestic production of rare earth metals,
and there has been a flurry of announcements.
Piedmont Lithium said it plans to
build lithium plants in North Carolina and
Tennessee. The annual production target for
just the Tennessee operation is double the
current total U.S. production of lithium hydroxide.
According to Keith Phillips, the
company's CEO, " Piedmont wants to be the
biggest producer of lithium in North
America. " And he said that the federal tax
credit is a big driver.
Albemarle, which operates in Nevada the
only existing lithium mine in North America,
also said the Biden bill's provisions would
encourage it to develop new domestic mines
and refining capacity for lithium. Canada's
Snow Lake Lithium has proposed a plant in
southern Manitoba that it said would produce
enough of the metal (160,000 tons) to power
five million EVs over 10 years. Talon Metals
has proposed what it said would be a sustainably
operated nickel mine in Tamarack,
Minnesota, but there has been some environmental
pushback.
Also facilitating a shift away from problematic
production is the Responsible
Minerals Initiative (RMI), which has more
than 460 member companies. BMW, a signatory,
has signed a long-term deal to buy
cobalt from Morocco and Australia to avoid
sourcing in the DRC. Other automaker partners
include Daimler AG, Ford, GM, Honda
North America, Stellantis, Tesla, Volvo and
Volkswagen.
RMI is also working on improving working
conditions for the artisanal cobalt production
that's concentrated in two southern
provinces of the DRC.
Jim Motavalli
AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING
October 2022 23
ASCEND ELEMENTS

Automotive Engineering - October 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive Engineering - October 2022

Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - Intro
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - Sponsor1
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - CVRA
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - CVRB
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - CVR1
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - CVR2
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 1
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 2
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 3
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 4
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 5
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 6
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 7
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 8
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 9
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 10
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 11
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 12
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 13
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 14
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 15
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 16
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 17
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 18
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 19
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 20
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 21
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 22
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 23
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 24
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 25
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 26
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 27
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 28
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 29
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 30
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 31
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 32
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 33
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 34
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 35
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - CVR4
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/23AAVE01
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/22AE12
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/22AVE11
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/22AE10
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/22AE09
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/22AE08
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/22AVE07
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/22AE06
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/22AE05
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/22AVE04
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/22AE04
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/22AE03
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/22AE02
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/22AVE01
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/21AE12
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/21AVE11
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/21AE10
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/21AVE09
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/21AE09
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/21AE08
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/21AVE07
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/21AE06
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/21AE05
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/21AVE05
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/21AE04
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/21AE03
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/21AVE03
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/sae/21AE02
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com