|Overview of Recupyl’s process for recycling Li-ion batteries. Click to enlarge.
France-based Recupyl SAS, a global recycling company, has received a commitment for a €14.5-million (US$18.7 million) capital injection from investors including its original backer Aloe Private Equity, as well as new investors, led by AGF Private Equity, to fund the next stage of its commercial development. Seed investor INPG Enterprise SA also maintained its shareholding.
Recupyl, originally established in 1993 to commercialize Dr. Farouk Tedjar’s work at INPG (Grenoble Institute of Technology) in the treatment of used batteries, has built up a portfolio of more than 10 patents for processes to treat a broad range of waste products based on hydrometallurgy. RECUPYL continues to develop new waste treatment technologies.
Hydrometallurgy recovers metals by leaching them into a solution (acid or alkaline); selective precipitation; and/or electrolysis. A hydrometallurgical process comprises the following steps:
Dissolving the material that contains the metals to be extracted;
Purification and concentration of the solution to be treated; and
Transformation into a metallic state by various mechanisms depending on the nature of the metal.
In the last two years, Recupyl has established a number of battery recycling plants which not only exceed current and future regulatory requirements (in particular for minimum recycling rates) in accordance with the EU Battery Directive, but also have a low impact on their local environment in terms of emissions to air, soil and water. Furthermore, the inherent low energy consumption also adds to the environmental benefits of Recupyl’s unique patented processes.
Recupyl has developed and patented a hydrometallurgical process to treat all types of lithium batteries. The process operates at ambient temperature; does not require any high temperature or cryogenic steps (thus minimizing energy consumption); and has low emissions to air or water.
The hydrometallurgical treatment process is carried out in an inert atmosphere (necessary due to the flammable nature of lithium in the presence of oxygen). The process recovers the full range of constituents in the lithium battery systems including the metal casing, electrodes, metal oxides and lithium salts. The process has been tested at Domène in an industrial pilot in the framework of the EC research programme (5th PCRD).
Recupyl currently has recycling plants in Singapore, France, Spain and the UK (under license) and is developing other opportunities. In addition to the battery recycling division, the company also has several other high potential patented technologies undergoing commercialization, all focused on the recycling of hazardous and industrial wastes.
(A hat-tip to Rick!)