Singapore battery plant can extract metals with 99% purity

Electronics recycler TES has opened a new battery recycling facility capable of treating 14 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries in Tues, Singapore.The EUR 18.6 million (US$ 22 million) company expansion is part of a major investment in two facilities, the other which has been constructed in Grenoble, France.

The new site is able to recover more than 90% of precious metals from lithium-ion batteries for reuse in battery production; lithium and cobalt can be extracted with a 99% purity. TES ceo Gary Steele says the facility will process no less than 280 000 smartphone batteries on a daily basis.

E-scrap recycler TES relies on an innovative recycling process utilising proprietary in-house technology and equipment. Auto punching machines and shredders break discarded batteries down into fine substances. Magnetic separators recover the copper and aluminium, and a chemical treatment process is used to recover commodity-grade cobalt and lithium. TES points out the process does not release secondary contaminants like heavy metals or volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere.

‘By closing the loop on lithium-ion batteries, TES has brought Singapore a step closer to realising a circular economy,’ commented minister for sustainability and the environment Grace Fu at the opening ceremony. She notes that the launch of the new recycling plant comes at a pivotal moment as the extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme kicks into gear on July 1 this year.

‘Investing in technology that keeps TES at the forefront of the sustainability movement is in our DNA,’ says Steele. And he goes on to state: ‘Looking ahead, the battery space is potentially facing raw material commodity shortages stemming from the exponential proliferation of Internet of Things devices, electric vehicles, and mobility devices. These real world challenges need real world solutions.’

‘Working in close partnership with the Singapore Economic Development Board and the National Environment Agency has enabled us to develop an innovative battery recycling solution that further cements Singapore as being at the centre of the future circular economy’.

Meanwhile, TES is currently working with strategic partners to develop the release of an Energy Storage System (ESS). This ‘scalable turnkey solution’ revives retired electric vehicle batteries for various commercial and residential energy needs in the secondary market.