Strengthening of Battery Recycling
As automobiles undergo what is expected to be a rapid and long-term shift to electric drive, demand is growing for the nickel, cobalt, and lithium used in cathode materials for electric vehicle lithium-ion secondary batteries (LIBs), leading to calls for effective resource recycling.
We are working to recover and reuse the copper and nickel contained in used LIBs through a process that combines the Toyo Smelter & Refinery’s copper smelting and refining processes and the Niihama Nickel Refinery’s nickel smelting and refining processes. The recovered nickel, in particular, is processed into a secondary battery cathode material at the Isoura Plant, realizing Japan’s first “battery to battery” recycling using materials recovered from used LIBs.
As a result of our technological development, we have demonstrated the ability to recover nickel and cobalt from used LIBs, purify them to a high level, and reuse them as raw materials for LIB cathode materials. In addition, through our proprietary lithium recovery technology, the first such technology in the world, we have successfully established a new recycling process capable of recycling copper, nickel, cobalt, and lithium from used secondary batteries. Through joint development with Kanto Denka Kogyo Co., Ltd., we established the world’s first technology that recycles lithium from used LIBs as high-purity compounds and horizontally recycles the compounds into battery materials.
We are currently studying the commercialization of battery recycling with the aim of launching operations at a pre-commercial plant under our 2021 3-Year Business Plan, followed by the establishment of a 10,000-ton/year processing structure under our 2024 3-Year Business Plan.
Looking ahead, we will continue to tackle the achievement of “battery to battery” recycling and will contribute to the formation of a sustainable circular economy and the strengthening of resource recycling to combat global resource depletion.