Joint Development of Recycling Technology of Cobalt, Nickel and Other Metals with Nippon Magnetic Dressing
- Collection of rare metals from lithium ion batteries for xEVs (electric vehicles) -

Mitsubishi Materials Corporation (President: Naoki Ono, Capital: 119.4 billion yen) announced today that the company and Nippon Magnetic Dressing Co., Ltd. (President: Makoto Harada, Capital: 440 million yen, hereinafter "Nippon Magnetic Dressing") will jointly develop a recycling technology for cobalt, nickel and other metals contained in lithium ion batteries for xEVs* (electric vehicles), which have the potential for a massive increase in demand for recycling.

The shift to electric vehicles, including hybrid vehicles, is expected to result in continued increasing demand for lithium ion batteries. However, there is concern over a shortfall in the supply of cobalt and other rare metals, which are the main materials of batteries. Accordingly, the company and Nippon Magnetic Dressing have been working together on research and development into the recycling of lithium ion batteries with regard to the discharge, dismantling, heat degradation and transportation of used lithium ion batteries through the demonstration projects of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of the Environment.

In the joint development with Nippon Magnetic Dressing, Mitsubishi Materials has decided to address the development of overall technology based on the results from the past demonstration projects aiming at the early commercialization of the recycling of lithium ion batteries, leveraging the company's rare metal hydrometallurgy technology. By establishing a comprehensive recycling technology to safely and appropriately treat lithium ion batteries loaded in used xEVs and defectives generated in the process by battery manufacturers and to efficiently collect cobalt, nickel and other metals, the companies will contribute to the stable supply of lithium ion battery materials and undertake the construction of the recycling system for them.

Mitsubishi Materials and Nippon Magnetic Dressing are planning to establish Mitsubishi Materials' proprietary refining equipment to collect cobalt and nickel from the active materials of lithium ion batteries in the premises of Hibiki Plant of Nippon Magnetic Dressing (Address: Hibiki-machi, Wakamatsu-ku, Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture). Moving forward, the lithium ion battery recycling facility that conducts the process from heat degradation to the collection of cobalt and nickel will commence operation this fiscal year to begin the verification tests. The two companies will promote the technical validations of this facility targeted at commercialization and the joint development of improvement technology based on the results of the technical validations.

Based on its corporate philosophy, "For People, Society and the Earth." Mitsubishi Materials has a vision of "becoming the leading business group committed to creating a sustainable world through materials innovation, with use of our unique and distinctive technologies, for People, Society and the Earth." To make this vision a reality, the EV Material Development & Recycling Business Promotion Dept. that was established in April this year has been promoting the creation of new products and new business responding to the shift to electric vehicles. Through the development of lithium ion battery recycling technology, Mitsubishi Materials will make a further contribution to creating a sustainable world.

A collective term for electric vehicles including hybrid vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs).
Cobalt and nickel refining equipment Cobalt and nickel refining equipment Click for enlarge

August 20, 2018