Factorial seeks to bring a circular economy to solid-state batteries by recycling lithium metal

Solid-state battery developer Factorial Energy has announced a new partnership with South Korean metal refining company, Young Poong, to research and implement lithium metal recycling into its manufacturing practices. Through the investment, Factorial hopes to repurpose excess metal materials to create a more circular economy.

Factorial Energy, a Massachusetts-based solid-state battery developer, is producing an exciting technology to support EV applications. It currently operates several joint ventures with major names in the automotive industry, including Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai Motor Group and Stellantis.

The company’s flagship product is its Factorial Electrolyte System Technology (FEST), its proprietary spin that leverages a solid electrolyte material. At CES this January, Factorial Energy unveiled a prototype of a 100 Ampere-hour (Ah) solid-state cell that offers compatibility with existing lithium-ion battery manufacturing equipment, encouraging automakers to switch to advanced battery cells through a smoother process.

In May, the company announced it had been certified to begin shipping those 100Ah solid-state cells to automakers to test them for themselves before they’re integrated into new production EV models.

As Factorial Energy works to ramp up the production of solid-state batteries and potentially help revolutionize an already booming electric vehicle industry, it’s working to optimize its manufacturing practices by recycling the precious lithium metal left over during the manufacturing process. To do so, the company enlisted the help of Young Poong to tailor his expertise in solid-state recycling for the first time.

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The 100 Ah FEST (Factorial Electrolyte System Technology) solid-state battery cell / Credit: Factorial Energy

Factorial, Young Poong Tries First Solid State Recycling Project

Today, Factorial Energy announced its latest partnership with Young Poong, in which it will supply the South Korean metal smelting and refining company with advanced lithium metal material from its FEST solid-state battery manufacturing process.

From there, Young Poong plans to use the excess lithium material to develop a recycling process that allows for reuse through integration into additional solid-state batteries, creating a more circular economy. If successful, the companies say they will have achieved an industry first by bringing sustainable recycling into a thriving solid-state segment.

That’s because the lithium-metal anodes used in Factorials solid-state batteries require a different recycling process than the traditional lithium-ion cells used in today’s electric vehicles. Factorial Co-Founder and CTO Alex Yu spoke:

Our core mission to promote sustainable mobility goes beyond the production of batteries for electric vehicles. We are deeply invested in the advancement of technologies that promote a circular economy. Through our partnership with Young Poong, Factorial is poised to shape a future characterized by a resilient supply chain for solid-state batteries, thereby helping drive the growth and sustainability of the electric vehicle industry.

Young Poong describes his current battery recycling technique as the world’s first pyrometallurgical process, boasting that he can recover over 90% of the lithium and over 95% of the nickel, cobalt and copper from used batteries. Through its new partnership with Factorial Energy, the company has promised to invest in developing a project to adapt a similar solid-state recycling process. By Representative of Young Poongs Business Division and Green Metal Division, Kang In Lee:

We are pleased to work with Factorial to advance our research into lithium metal recycling for solid-state rechargeable batteries, an industry first. With the recycling of lithium metal, we have the opportunity to establish a recycling process well in advance of the future dismantling of solid-state batteries.

To begin, Factorial will supply Young Poong with excess materials from its current solid-state pilot manufacturing process, but the company has already confirmed that Young Poong will be present in its future manufacturing facilities as the company looks to scale its FEST cells toward full commercialization.

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Image Source : electrek.co

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