Neometals receives Australian patent grant for innovative battery recycling process

Image credit: Neometals Ltd

Neometals Ltd, a pioneering battery material recycler, announced that the Australian Patent Office has granted a patent to its 50 per cent-owned recycling intellectual property subsidiary, ACN Co. 

This patent pertains to the key process steps of its groundbreaking lithium-ion battery recycling process, known as “LiB Recycling Technology,” the company said in a press release. 

The Australian patent (Australian Patent No. 2019400942) marks a significant milestone as the first granted patent among the 17 national patent applications filed by ACN Co for the LiB Recycling Technology in key jurisdictions worldwide. 

The ASX-listed company said the LiB Recycling Technology, co-owned 50 per cent by Neometals’ Primobius joint venture partner, SMS group, is designed to recover valuable materials from LiB production scrap and end-of-life cells, thereby diverting these materials from landfills.

This two-stage process reclaims crucial battery materials such as nickel, cobalt, lithium, and manganese, along with physically recovering metals and plastics, transforming them into saleable products that can be reintroduced into the LiB supply chain. 

The recycling technology, which has two main stages, also places utmost importance on safety, environmental sustainability, and maximising material recovery, aligning with the principles of the circular economy and decarbonisation.

One stage is called the “Spoke” stage, where LiBs are received, sorted, discharged, disassembled, shredded, and separated. This stage physically separates all the parts of LiBs, including metal casings, electrode foils, plastics, and active battery materials. 

The second stage is known as the “Hub” stage, which includes processes like leaching, purification, precipitation, solvent extraction, and crystallisation. These processes create active materials that can be used in making LiB precursor materials through a refining process.

Neometals Managing Director, Chris Reed, expressed his satisfaction, saying, “We are pleased to receive the first granted patent for our battery recycling process from the Australian Patent Office.” 

He believes this solidifies the company’s edge as a top supplier of recycling solutions and enables Primobius to speed up its recycling plant supply and licensing business model.

“The validation also provides encouragement that our portfolio of applications in other jurisdictions will similarly be granted,” Reed concluded. 

The patent application process commenced with Neometals filing an Australian provisional patent application in late 2018, securing a ‘priority date.’ 

Subsequently, the company filed a Patent Cooperation Treaty application and seventeen national applications. 

The Australian patent grants coverage for the Hub component of the LiB Recycling Technology in Australia until late 2039.