Aqua Metals and 6K Energy sign strategic supply agreement to establish sustainable lithium battery supply chain

Aqua Metals and 6K Energy signed a strategic supply agreement establishing a North American sustainable circular supply chain for the critical minerals essential for manufacturing lithium-ion batteries. Aqua Metals will deliver sustainably recycled battery materials from its Sierra ARC facility in Reno, NV for 6K Energy to manufacture cathode active material (CAM) with a low carbon footprint at its PlusCAM facility in Jackson, TN.

This supply agreement will qualify for domestic content incentives under the Inflation Reduction Act, aligning with the United States’ efforts to expand manufacturing capabilities, establish resilient supply chains, and reduce carbon emissions. Based on today’s metals prices, the materials supplied under this off-take agreement have an estimated value of more than $50 million annually once 6K Energy’s PlusCAM and Aqua Metals’ Sierra ARC facilities reach capacity.

Starting in 2024, Aqua Metals will supply 6K Energy with sustainably recycled critical minerals, ramping up to provide 30% of the nickel and lithium carbonate needed for 6K Energy’s PlusCAM facility. The commitment to utilize up to 30% recycled feedstock allows EV and lithium battery manufacturers to benefit from low-carbon, low-cost, and domestically produced cathode materials.

As the United States expands lithium battery manufacturing capacity to nearly one terawatt-hour by 2030, the alliance between Aqua Metals and 6K Energy aims to establish North America’s only sustainable closed-loop supply chain for critical battery materials.

The core of Aqua Metals’ and 6K Energy’s sustainable supply chain lies in their electrified processes. Both companies utilize technologies that can be powered entirely by clean energy and have a clear pathway to net-zero operations in the future. Each company also eliminates the production of thousands of tonnes of sodium sulfate waste through their patented processes—a byproduct that traditional cathode production and recycling methods generate in significant quantities.

6K Inc. produces and innovates UniMelt microwave plasma technology for the localized production of critical materials. 6K’s UniMelt technology is applied across a range of markets, from additive manufacturing (6K Additive) and essential battery materials (6K Energy) to future growth sectors (6K Next).

Aqua Metals’ AquaRefining is a low-emissions, closed-loop recycling technology that replaces polluting furnaces and hazardous chemicals with electricity-powered electroplating to recover valuable metals and materials from spent batteries with higher purity, lower emissions, and minimal waste. Aqua Metals is based in Reno, NV and operates its first lithium battery recycling facility at the company’s Innovation Center in the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center.

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