GM plans to divert more than 90 percent of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025.
Ultium Cells, which is a joint venture between GM and LG Energy Solutions, has announced a partnership with Li-Cycle to recycle up to 100 percent of material scrap from the manufacturing of battery cells, according to a report by Automotive News. Recycling will begin later this year.
Ultium batteries will power GM’s upcoming EVs starting with the GMC Hummer EV truck that is supposed to enter production late this year. Ultium cells will use a modular design, making it easier to reuse or recycle them.
"GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90 percent of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025," Ken Morris, GM vice president of electric and autonomous vehicles, said in a statement. "Now, we're going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials.”
With Li-Cycle’s help, Ultium Cells can recycle cobalt, copper, lithium, graphite, nickel, manganese, and aluminum from the battery cell manufacturing process. Additionally, “95 percent of the materials can be used to produce batteries from adjacent industries.”
Li-Cycle will use the hydrometallurgical recycling process, which releases 30 percent less greenhouse gas than other procedures. In March, Volkswagen announced it would be using hydrometallurgy to recycle 95 percent of a battery cell.
According to the report, since 2013, GM has recycled or reused all of the customer-returned battery packs (including warranty replacements) it has received.
The Automotive News report also explains that:
"GM also uses end-of-life EV batteries in stationary backup power sources, the automaker said in its 2020 Sustainability Report. At the Milford Proving Ground in Michigan, GM uses recycled batteries to balance its use of the electric grid as it works to achieve zero-net annual energy for Milford's office building."
Battery recycling is a growing industry thanks to the growing popularity of EVs. Tesla co-founder and former CTO JB Straubel started Redwood Materials in 2017. It’s a company that recycles end-of-life batteries, then extracts and supplies the raw materials to battery makers so that they can create new battery cells.