S’pore startup NEU Battery Supplies provides EV battery recycling answer

The current is all about working in direction of a sustainable world and Singapore will not be backing down on its efforts.

With the rollout of a number of initiatives below the Singapore Inexperienced Plan 2030, the journey to sustainability might slowly turn out to be our actuality. Singapore’s electrical automobile (EV) push is among the key efforts, with a purpose to part out petrol and diesel autos by 2040. 

With the worldwide EV market on a constant progress trajectory, 2019 noticed an estimated 500,000 tonnes of battery waste. Doubtlessly by 2040, two-thirds of all automotive gross sales are anticipated to be electrical, in flip producing 1,300 gigawatt-hours of waste batteries in keeping with the Worldwide Vitality Company.

The rise in electrical automobiles has pushed up the fear of rising piles of discarded batteries in our landfills. Out of the extreme quantity of EV batteries utilised, solely 5 per cent of stated lithium-ion rechargeable batteries are recycled globally.

Nevertheless, disposing lithium is problematic — it entails a number of purification phases, and presently, it’s cheaper to mine extra lithium than recycle it. 

That is the place Singapore-based startup NEU Battery Supplies goals to alter the sport with its distinctive strategy to battery recycling. The top purpose for co-founders Bryan Oh and Kenneth Palmer is to maintain lithium provide in circulation with the additional advantage of low environmental impression.

Innovating for a trigger

Bryan majored in Finance and Administration on the Nationwide College of Singapore (NUS), and his skilled crosses varied sectors: consulting, building, and he even runs a number of of his personal startups.

It’s by one in all his former enterprise ventures — constructing transportable lockers for ad-hoc occasions, which could possibly be freely deployed — that he met Kenneth. 

Whereas Covid-19 continued to place a damper on the occasions sector, each Bryan and Kenneth learnt about NUS’ program, GRIP MAKE, the place alumnus might commercialise applied sciences inside the college.

NEU Battery Supplies at Jinji Lake Competitors / Picture Credit score: Suzhou Industrial Park Worldwide Enterprise Cooperation Centre (Singapore)

Understanding the significance of lithium batteries and the potential impression on the surroundings that recycling might create, each of them needed to develop battery recycling expertise.

“Kenneth spent most of his time within the lab and spearheaded the event of our expertise, whereas I spent my time on commercialising and fundraising, in hopes [that] we might contribute to the decarbonisation of the transport trade,” stated Bryan.

Collectively with their inventor — now co-founder and technical advisor — Affiliate Professor Wang Qing, Deputy Head, Division of Supplies Science and Engineering inside the NUS Faculty of Design and Engineering, they developed NEU Battery Supplies’ electrochemical course of.

Much less chemical compounds, similar recycling idea

What makes NEU’s course of a trailblazer within the EV recycling sector?

Lithium batteries — similar to these in EVs or vitality storage — are available in many battery sorts. These embody Lithium Ion Phosphate (LFP), a sort of battery more and more utilized by Tesla and different main EV makers, or Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC). Generally at their Finish of Life (EoL), such batteries can be thrown out with a landfill being their ultimate resting place. 

By NEU’s recycling course of, lithium from these batteries can now be extracted and recycled. We use an electrochemical methodology — utilizing electrical energy — to recycle these batteries. By doing so, we’re capable of produce battery-grade lithium that may be equipped again to producers, thus permitting us to shut the loop.

– Bryan Oh, co-founder of NEU Battery Supplies

NEU’s Worth Chain / Picture Credit score: NEU Battery Supplies

Historically, Pyrometallurgy and Hydrometallurgy can be the recycling strategies of alternative. Nevertheless, stated strategies utilise acids and smelting which contribute to the atmospheric carbon in the long term.

In distinction, NEU’s electrochemical course of separates the batteries into ion phosphate and lithium hydroxide at a restoration fee of greater than 95 per cent, and purity ranges of about 99 per cent for each supplies.

NEU’s course of faucets on a regenerative answer, permitting extra batteries to be recycled with out the necessity to get rid of chemical compounds. In flip, NEU advantages from price financial savings and low quantities of air pollution when recycling.

As well as, the method runs modular and is space-efficient, which permits them to quickly develop to fulfill the provision of batteries.

Sustainability is an all-in course of

NEU remains to be within the early phases of its analysis, because it seeks to consider recycling of different battery sorts and extra provision of uncooked materials sources.

To cater to market demand, it emphasises on Analysis & Growth (R&D) to make sure that the corporate always helps the trade by offering sustainable and clear recycling options.

Bryan additionally burdened that sustainability will not be a one-person effort; quite, it’s a holistic acutely aware joint effort to guard our surroundings.

The sustainable future is one to be inspired. We’ve got to acknowledge that many key gamers should play their half to make sure an attainable sustainable future.

It’s a cumulative effort between shoppers, producers, and stakeholders within the worth chain. We have to assist each other [and] be open to exploring strategies to cut back our carbon footprint by strolling or biking as a substitute of taking non-public transportation, making an attempt to delay the lifespan of our electronics and even correctly disposing of them at designated recycling bins.

– Bryan Oh, co-founder of NEU Battery Supplies

Presently, the NEU crew is seeking to scale up the method from a lab setting right into a larger-scale setting, whereas nonetheless sustaining its excessive efficiency of recycling. As such, they’re within the technique of constructing NEU’s first pilot plant in Singapore earlier than scaling as much as construct a business plant.

“The pilot plant will function at 150 tonnes of waste batteries per yr. We’re partnering up with one in all our seed traders, Se-cure Waste Administration, which specialises within the processing and recycling of digital scrap and waste (e-waste),” shares Bryan.

The crew additionally hopes to place NEU in each key area — similar to China and Europe — to drive the forefront of battery sustainability by EoL administration options. The purpose is, with each EV positioned on the highway globally, NEU will have the ability to present a closed loop recycling answer.

Function Picture Credit score: NEU Battery Supplies

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