Blink Charging to provide up to 41,500 EV charging stations to USPS
Altilium Metals to accelerate development of UK’s largest EV battery recycling facility following succesful scale-up of proprietary technology

Aqua Metals recovers high-purity nickel from lithium battery black mass

Aqua Metals has successfully recovered high-purity nickel from lithium battery black mass using its proprietary Li AquaRefining process, utilizing electricity, and without a polluting smelter or the significant chemical waste typical in recycling. (Earlier post.)

The company’s unique solution for recovering all valuable metals in lithium battery recycling supports a circular supply chain for manufacturing, and positions Aqua Metals to play an important role in meeting the growing demand for sustainably produced domestic metals.


High-purity nickel recovered with Li AquaRefining at Aqua Metals’ lithium battery recycling Pilot.

Aqua Metals’ Li AquaRefining technology recovers nickel and other valuable metals using electroplating in a closed-loop, eliminating the need for energy-intensive and wasteful chemical processes that increase the cost and the resulting pollution of recycling.

Nickel is an essential resource in the global push for electrification and clean energy technologies, and often makes up a substantial portion of the cost in electric vehicle batteries and energy storage systems. Aqua Metals also recently announced recovery of high purity lithium hydroxide and copper from black mass at its operational pilot facility located in the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center.

Having already demonstrated successfully at both lab and bench scales, the Aqua Metals’ Li AquaRefining Pilot is the only operational electro-hydrometallurgy lithium battery recycling facility in North America.

Current commercial lithium battery recycling methods use an energy-intensive smelting process that involves high temperatures, produces toxic fumes that must be mitigated, and is unable to recover usable lithium or manganese. Proposed hydrometallurgy recycling consumes tons of hazardous chemicals, producing landfill waste and significant environmental impact from the production and transport of the one-time-use chemicals.

Cost-effective and sustainable battery recycling cannot be achieved if each ton recovered requires multiple tons of chemicals and results in tons of waste and pollution Using AquaRefining we can eliminate these hazards, which creates a safer work environment, minimizes transport of chemicals, and demonstrates our commitment to equitable and responsible recycling that benefits our community.

—Ben Taecker, Chief Engineering and Operations Officer at Aqua Metals.

Aqua Metals is currently scaling operations at its Li AquaRefining Pilot facility and is ramping up production of high-value products including pure nickel, copper, and lithium hydroxide. The company recently announced plans for the development of an integrated clean metals recycling campus, and is currently commissioning a 3,000 ton per year commercial recycling facility on the five-acre site as the first phase of the expansion.



I love it, mine once use many. This should be the credo going forward. There is many lifetimes worth of lithium in the flow back water of current oil and gas wells of which there are over 150,000 in West Texas alone each and every one makes enough flow back fluids for hundreds of car sized packs per week. I personally have worked with a couple of major companies in the industry demoing this technology it's coming and in a big way. I am biased being a Longhorn myself holding three earth science degrees from UT. With two more from another SEC university and post doc as well.

The point is mine it once then use it indefinitely in a closed cycle. There is billions of cars worth of lithium in just West Texas alone that says nothing of all the other shales worldwide.


@ JamesDo88039200
What is your perspective on Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE), e.g. the LANXESS AG and Standard Lithium Ltd., Arkansas Smackover DLE project.
Or Tesla’s Lithium Refinery in Corpus Christi?
“Spindletop” 21st Century version.


UT Austin process is a form of DLE using ion exchange type resins similar to water softeners the key is using water that is already produced in the millions of barrels per day essentially for free since flow back water has to be process and disposed of anyway to produce oil/ gas in the Midland Basin. There is no need to drill new wells nor expand foot prints into virgin saline basins although the technology could be used in such basins. Flow back water is upwards of 5 to 10 times as saline as seawater and is loaded with lithium.

Not sure what the process water requirements are for the ceramic ion getter that Standard Lithium is using nor SLB process if they use brackish brine like the UT process then they would not stress local fresh water sources.

What's really interesting is the tech that KAUST from the Kingdom has achieved at the lab scale the electro extraction of Li from seawater directly which at 0.2ppm is no small feat that tech would be zero process water requirements and at 10 times or more concentrations from flow back water even more efficient. The overall point is there will never be a shortage of lithium as long as price justifies it's extraction the earth is absolutely loaded with lithium. Same can be said for uranium there are billions of tonnes in seawater and trillions in the crust granite is 2-4ppm worldwide everywhere. With the right price extraction will happen at industrial scale be it Li or U


Thanks for the info.
Here is a recommendation for the RAM Revolution “Range Extender” engine:
the Libertine FPE opposed free piston internal combustion system, developed in conjunction with MAHLE Powertrain and fuel agnostic.

BTW Libertine has done work with SWRi and the DOE.

The comments to this entry are closed.