Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Technology

Updated: January 2021

Ticker : TSX-V: AMY | OTC US: AMYZF | FSE: 2AM

RECYCLICO™ LITHIUM-ION BATTERY RECYCLING PROCESS

The RecycLiCo™ process was designed to recycle lithium-ion battery cathode material to produce high purity cathode materials that could be directly integrated into the re-manufacturing of battery cathodes using minimal processing steps. The cathode material is recycled in a process that consists of a novel combination of reagents and unit operations to produce cathode material that is chemically fine-tuned to specific parameters such as chemical composition, purity, particle shape, particle size and uniformity. American Manganese is tailoring its recycling products for suitable integration into the newest generation cathodes.

High Purity Recycled Li-ion Cathode Material

Figure 1 – Itemized Progression of Cathode Scrap to Recycled Nickel-Cobalt Hydroxide and Lithium Carbonate

BUSINESS MODEL

The RecycLiCo™ Patented Process offers a closed-loop and environmentally friendly recycling solution for cathode materials from cathode manufacturing waste and end-of-life lithium-ion batteries.

The process achieves over 99% extraction and purity of materials such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, manganese, and aluminum from cathode chemistries such as:

With the growing demand for electric vehicles and portable electronics, lithium-ion battery recycling is a certainty. Fortunately, the RecycLiCo™ process eliminates waste by diverting end-of-life lithium-ion batteries from landfills, reduces reliance on mined raw materials by efficiently recycling materials back into the lithium-ion battery supply chain, and eliminates carbon and water discharge with a closed-loop process.

Figure 2 – Circular Battery Recycling Strategy

CATHODE MANUFACTURING WASTE

During the lithium-ion battery manufacturing process, cathode active material is prepared for manufacturing into a cell, which includes electrode coating, winding, assembly, and formation. These manufacturing processes are not perfect, and many times result in off-spec material that does not pass quality control and is scrapped as waste. Although the off-spec material still contains high-value battery metals, it is disposed of as waste. This manufacturing waste (cathode scrap) is considered as the low-hanging fruit for American Manganese because it provides an immediate opportunity to recycle high-value cathode materials back into the lithium-ion supply chain.

Figure 3 – Pilot Plant and Cathode Scrap Feedstock

The RecycLiCo™ process is a closed-loop process that has successfully been scaled from lab-scale to a pilot plant project using cathode scrap as a feedstock material. American Manganese sourced 500kg of NMC and 500kg of NCA cathode scrap for the pilot plant project which was commissioned in early 2019. The pilot plant has produced a variety of recycled products with high extraction and purity that is regularly reported in the Company’s News Releases.

Nickel and Cobalt Hydroxide powder

Figure 4 – 99.94% Pure Nickel-Cobalt Hydroxide from NCA Cathode Scrap

High purity NMC filter cake

Figure 5 – 99.93% Pure Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt Hydroxide from NMC Cathode Scrap

END-OF-LIFE LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES

American Manganese has developed the RecycLiCo™ Patented Process to recover the cathode materials used in lithium-ion batteries, which is a significant portion of the total lithium-ion battery material cost. However, the valuable cathode material in a spent lithium-ion battery is combined with multiple other components that need to be disassembled and separated before the recovery of the cathode material.

To provide a complete life-cycle solution that compliments the RecycLiCo™ Patented Process, American Manganese has sourced samples of black mass from multiple processes that discharge and disassemble lithium-ion batteries.

Separated Li-ion Battery Cathode

Figure 6 – Disassembled Components of a Lithium-ion Battery Using Battery Safety Solution’s Proprietary Technology

For instance, American Manganese has partnered with a U.S. Department of Energy project, as the first private sector company, to advance the economic recovery of lithium-ion battery materials from electric vehicles and other consumer electronics. The project is formally titled, “Lithium-Ion Battery Disassembly, Remanufacturing, and Lithium & Cobalt Recovery Project” and consists of two U.S. National Labs and leading Universities that are developing leading innovations that address the recovery of critical metals in lithium-ion batteries.

American Manganese recognizes the immediate value of recycling cathode scrap but remains aware of future recycling opportunities for end-of-life batteries, such as potential collaborations with discharging and disassembly companies that produce black mass material.

FUTURE GROWTH

The Company’s contractor, Kemetco Research Inc, developed AMY’s patented cathode-to-cathode hydrometallurgical process in their well-equipped extractive metallurgy laboratory. With their experienced staff, Kemetco has contributed their expertise in scientific aspects, engineering aspects, and plant design. Kemetco is capable of carrying out testing, plant design and construction of both the pilot plant and commercial demonstration plant. Kemetco’s labs are close to AMY’s office and a strong communications line is maintained between the two companies.

The pilot plant project was commissioned to replicate real-world closed-circuit operating conditions. The testing simulates and de-risks the production of the commercial demonstration plant. The Company expects to continue pilot plant tests for optimization research and the testing of third-party cathode material that will enhance the detailed engineering design and economic assessment of a commercial demonstration plant.

Figure 7 – Technician Holding Internal Components of a Lithium-ion Battery

FINANCIAL PLAN

From the pilot plant project data, American Manganese intends to complete a detailed engineering design and cost assessment of a commercial demonstration plant with a cathode scrap processing capacity of 3 tonnes per day. The current in-house estimate for the plant’s capital investment is estimated to be US$12 million, accounting for the design and construction of specialized equipment.

The Company’s goal is to commercialize the patented recycling process via a joint development partnership or licensing agreement. The location of the first commercial plant is planned in a strategic location within North America that favours a location in close proximity to cathode feedstock with potential co-location opportunities and government incentives.

While the commercial demonstration plant in itself could be a profit-making option, American Manganese foresees a significant upside for strategic partners to collaborate now, where the Company has achieved several significant milestones in the last several years to offer an opportunity that is a perfect balance between risk and reward.

SALE OF RECYCLED END PRODUCT

American Manganese is in discussion with several third-parties, from cathode producers to precursor manufacturers, to validate the Company’s recycled output material. Due to the high demand for AMY’s product, The Company does not foresee a challenge in selling recycled precursor cathode material to market. American Manganese will negotiate with strategic players, who understand the value of the Company’s cathode precursor output, to avoid going through several additional processes before looping back into the supply chain.

Figure 8 – Samples of Recycled Material for Third-Party Analysis