WA battery recycling startup raises $8 million


Renewable Metals, a recycling technology startup, has closed an $8 million capital raise led by venture capital firm Investible and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to scale and commercialise its lithium-ion battery recycling method.

According to a statement from the CEFC – which invested via Virescent Ventures – the round will support development of a Perth pilot plant and accelerate planned construction of a larger demonstration plant with capacity to process 1,500 tonnes of battery waste annually. 

The raise will also support new hires at Renewable Metals.

“To decarbonise quickly, the world needs cost-effective recycling solutions that maximise recovery for all types of lithium batteries (not just higher value ones with nickel and cobalt),” said Renewable Metals CEO, Luan Atkinson. 

“We’re thrilled to be backed by the CEFC, [the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment] and Investible. Their support will accelerate our scale-up as well as help create 2-3x more value than the current Australian practice of exporting batteries or black mass for recycling overseas.”

According to Atkinson’s company, it is able to recover critical materials from batteries including lithium, nickel, cobalt, copper​ and​ manganese and can be applied to ​different ​battery chemistr​ies​, including hard-to-recycle lithium ferro phosphate (LFP) batteries, which are increasingly used in electric vehicles.

Virescent, which made a $2.5 million investment on behalf of the CEFC, said that increasing electrification of transport and the renewable energy generation was also increasing the need for new recycling solutions.

“Battery recycling that extracts valuable metals and materials is an important part of building Australia’s circular economy as demand for batteries grows,” said Virescent Partner Blair Pritchard. 

“By developing end-of-life battery systems, Australia can participate across the battery value chain, from critical minerals extraction, refining, processing operation and maintenance and the eventual repurposing and recycling of batteries and components.”

Renewable Metals was founded in 2022 and is based on a “world-first, alkali-based recycling process” developed by three Western Australian metallurgists, Mark Urbani, Gary Johnson and Nick Vines.

In March this year, it won the inaugural Supercharge Australia Innovation Challenge Award. 

“Other metals recycling processing use 1.2 tonnes of acid for every tonne of battery waste, creating 1.5 tonnes of sodium sulfate (salt),” said Atkinson at the time.

Picture: credit CEFC

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