Cirba Solutions, the leader in battery management and materials for end-of-life batteries, has announced it will form a joint venture with 6K Inc., the world’s leading producer of sustainable advanced materials for additive manufacturing and energy storage, to produce recycled battery cathodes, thereby closing the loop in the management of lithium-ion batteries. This partnership provides the battery manufacturing sector with a secure and steady source of recycled cathode material that will help the United States achieve its vision of creating a sustainable domestic supply chain.
6K has assembled a team of material, process, and production experts to deliver world-class materials. UniMelt® harnesses a Massachusetts Institute of Technology-derived microwave plasma process, that can produce a virtually infinite number of battery materials, faster, cleaner and at a lower cost than any other process. Compared to state-of-the-art cathode active material (CAM) plants, 6K produces significantly lower greenhouse gases (GhG), no solid or liquid waste, and utilizes 90% less water for a 50% cost reduction compared to the global average cost. This, combined with Cirba Solutions’ decades of experience in developing North America’s most comprehensive and geographically diverse logistical and processing footprint for the collection, packaging, transportation, and material upgrading of end-of-life batteries and production scrap, sets this team far ahead of the competition.
“6K’s UniMelt® system replaces a less efficient chemical co-precipitation process with one that takes seconds and is powered by 6,000 degrees Kelvin microwave plasma,” explained 6K’s CEO, Aaron Bent. “Our partnership with Cirba Solutions allows us to leverage both companies’ revolutionary capabilities to create a domestic supply chain that operates to insulate the United States from foreign shocks and supply chain disruptions while supplying next-generation battery materials.”
“We are very excited to partner with 6K to provide a closed-loop supply chain for OEMs, cell manufacturers, and cathode customers seeking to return recycled battery materials to their supply chains,” explained David Klanecky, Cirba Solutions’ President & CEO. “Our expertise in collection, logistics, and processing lithium-ion batteries, in concert with 6K’s innovative cathode materials production capabilities, will help power the transformational renewable economy in a truly circular fashion.”
The two organizations successfully demonstrated the CAM-to-CAM process with recycled material to produce NMC powder that meets industry specifications. This closed-loped approach provides OEMs, cell manufacturers, and cathode producers with a sustainable product that create a circular domestic supply chain with a high-quality cathode made from recycled batteries.