Indianapolis-based Heritage Battery Recycling has signed a joint development agreement with materials management specialist 6K to produce new cathode material from recycled batteries. The process will use Heritage’s established network to collect and process end-of-life batteries, combined with 6K’s plasma technology to manufacture cathode-grade battery materials for applications with high purity requirements.
6K is named for 6,000 degrees, the temperature of the surface of the sun, and the temperature of operation of the company’s UniMelt microwave plasma system. 6K uses proprietary plasma processing technology to create battery materials. The company currently operates a 45-acre facility that reclaims and processes over a million pounds of Ti64 (a titanium alloy) per year, as well as a 48,000-square-foot production facility for additive manufacturing powders. Its new Battery Center of Excellence, scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2022, will be capable of pilot production with up to 500 MWh of capacity.
“This agreement represents the first true circular economy approach to battery recycling—an approach that is both sustainable and cost-effective and most importantly, can be domestically produced,” said 6K CEO Aaron Bent. “It is clear that we need to recycle materials in order to ensure the sustainability of our domestic battery supply chain, and Heritage’s operational expertise has been demonstrated over the past 50 years. This partnership will greatly accelerate deployment of 6K’s cathode product into the market.”
“6K is a leader in the materials management field, and is the perfect partner to work with on creating a circular, sustainable solution to produce cathode material for new batteries,” said Heritage President Shane Thompson. “This is a breakthrough, as 6K’s process is massively less energy, water, and carbon intensive. It will redefine how we produce batteries.”
Heritage and 6K plan to be making cathode from recycled content as early as Q1 2022.