Aqua Metals electroplates first critical battery metal from lithium battery black mass at Li AquaRefining pilot
Aqua Metals has successfully recovered critical battery metal from spent lithium-ion batteries at production scale by electroplating. The company’s pilot Li AquaRefining system has demonstrated the ability to remove impurities and trace metals from tons of recycled lithium battery black mass and then selectively recover pure metal using electricity instead of high-energy furnaces or the continuous waste streams and expense of one-time-use chemicals.
Copper is the first of the products recycled using electricity in the patent-pending Li AquaRefining process. The company intends to follow by recovering lithium hydroxide, nickel, cobalt, and manganese dioxide—recycling all the valuable minerals within common black mass feedstock.
Because AquaRefining is designed to remove trace elements and recovers these pure metals selectively, the company believes the system can process feedstock with varying concentrations of critical minerals and adapt to future changes in lithium battery chemistries.
Reclaiming metals with the company’s closed-loop electroplating technology could enable economically favorable and efficient production of high-purity products from spent lithium batteries. The company currently purchases renewable energy credits (REC) for the electricity used at the pilot facility and offsets all remaining direct and indirect carbon emissions in its carbon footprint.