TOKYO: Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. and Kanto Denka Kogyo Co. have developed recycling technology to recover lithium compounds from used lithium-ion batteries for reuse as battery materials.
The two companies will validate the practicability of the technology, which they claim is the first of its kind in the world, and determine its business feasibility by establishing larger demonstration facilities, according to their announcement on Wednesday.
Since embarking on the joint development of the technology in 2018, Sumitomo Metal Mining and Kanto Denka Kogyo have carried out testing at Kanto Denka Kogyo’s Mizushima plant in the western Japan city of Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture.
As a result, they have succeeded in refining high-purity lithium compounds from the slag produced during the smelting process of used lithium-ion batteries.
While current recycling technology enables the recovery of cobalt and nickel, both rare metals, from used lithium-ion batteries, lithium could not be recovered.
The development of the latest lithium recycling technology thus comes as welcome news as it will help secure resources as demand for electric vehicles is expected to increase toward achieving a decarbonized society.