Battery Resources, a startup that is developing a closed-loop approach to lithium-ion battery materials, has closed $ 70 million in mid-round funding to scale its business operations across two continents.
The Worcester, Massachusetts-based company doesn’t just recycle batteries. A process was also designed to convert that recycled material back into critical battery materials, specifically nickel-manganese-cobalt cathodes and purified graphite, a material used in anodes. You intend to sell those materials directly to the battery manufacturer.
This latest round featured the participation of new investor Hitachi Ventures, as well as existing investors Orbia Ventures, Jaguar Land Rover’s InMotion Ventures, Doral Energy, At One Ventures, TDK Ventures and Trumpf Ventures.
Battery resources ensured a $ 20 million Series B a little over five months ago. That funding was to accelerate the launch of the startup’s first commercial-scale facility, which will be able to process 10,000 tons of batteries per year. CEO Michael O’Kronley told TechCrunch in a recent interview that that plant will open in the first quarter of 2022, although the company has yet to announce where it will be located in the US.
With this new funding, the company will open two additional commercial-scale sites in Europe, which will be operational by the end of 2022. In total, Battery Resourcers aims to have 30,000 tonnes of recycling capacity by the end of next year throughout its territory. three commercial-scale locations. Cathode material production will be added to these sites the following year.
There are several reasons to look abroad, O’Kronley said, not least because Battery Resourcers anticipates that Europe will be an even larger market than the United States.
“Europe has the same concerns as the United States about the retention of critical battery materials in the supply chain,” he said, adding that European lawmakers currently require battery recycling by OEMs and will likely require the recycling of batteries. use of recycled materials in batteries. “If we add to this the amount and number of gigafactories that have been announced in Europe, relative to the US, most people believe, including Battery Resourcers, we believe that the European market will be bigger than the North American market. “
Most critical battery materials are currently produced in Asia, but O’Kronley said the industry is moving from being highly concentrated in specific locations to a more global operation.
“Whether it’s the Asian company moving to Europe or North America, or the new entrants that are entering and supplying Europe and North America, we are a new entrant coming to supply from these regions, the material supply chain. The battery pack will absolutely have to be located, ”he said. “We are part of it.”
O’Kronley added that the company has been in talks with several OEMs and consumer electronics companies, but declined to specify details. However, he said vehicle OEMs and battery manufacturers have already taken the company’s cathode material and incorporated it into batteries to test it against “virgin” cathodes.
“It is the belief of Battery Resourcers that in the long term, you need a vertically integrated supply chain and to be able to extract the most value from these spent batteries,” O’Kronley said. “We are making progress in manufacturing these engineering materials that go directly back to a new battery.”