Dragonfly Energy, Aqua Metals Successfully Recycle Lithium-Ion Batteries for New Battery Cells

Lithium batter closeup

(Credit: Pixabay)

by | Sep 27, 2023

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Dragonfly Energy said it has successfully used high-purity lithium hydroxide from Aqua Metals recycled lithium-ion batteries to manufacture a lithium-based battery cell.

The success is considered a significant move for sustainable lithium-ion battery production for Dragonfly Energy and Aqua Metals, which collaborated on the innovation. The move also demonstrates that a more sustainable and circular path is possible for the lithium battery manufacturing industry at a time when demand is expected to increase over the coming years. 

Aqua Metals is a clean battery recycling company based in Reno, Nevada. The company recovers high-purity lithium hydroxide from lithium-ion battery “black mass,” or the metallic mixture of crushed and shredded end-of-life battery cells. Black mass also contains valuable materials, such as lithium. The company provided high-purity lithium hydroxide to Dragonfly Energy, which was used in the production of a standard CR2032 cell through Dragonfly’s patented dry powder coating process.

[BASF, Nanotech Partner to Produce Recycled Lithium-Ion Batteries]

“This is an exciting step forward for the emerging lithium battery industry, as we have qualified the high-purity lithium hydroxide Aqua Metals recovers from recycled lithium batteries to manufacture new battery cells,” Dr. Vick Singh, director of research and development for Dragonfly Energy, said in a statement. “This is yet another way Dragonfly continues to develop energy storage solutions with widespread applications using sustainable measures.”

The collaboration confirmed recycled materials can be used and meet the high standards for advanced battery cell production and be part of the sustainable supply chain for domestic battery manufacturing. The process highlights a closed lithium loop in Nevada, with all stages of battery production happening in the state.

Nevada is considered a hotspot for lithium batteries, with possibly the largest lithium source in North America and a growing market for electric vehicles, consumer electronics, and consumer and industrial end-user applications for energy storage technologies. 

“This is an exciting milestone for us in establishing the efficacy of our sustainable recycling process and affirming that our high-purity recovered material is battery grade and of equal quality to virgin mined material – with a much lower carbon and waste footprint,” Steve Cotton, president and CEO of Aqua Metals, said in a statement. “Dragonfly Energy is at the forefront of manufacturing high-performance lithium batteries, and we believe our continued collaboration is demonstrating why building a circular supply chain for critical minerals in Nevada is integral to our clean energy future.”

Dragonfly Energy CEO Dr. Denis Phares said the use of recycled lithium also helps shore up the supply chain needed to meet future demand. 

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