We are pleased to announce that the Company and its parent company ENVIPRO HOLDINGS Inc. (Head Office: Fujinomiya City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Representative Director: Tomikazu Sano; the Company and ENVIPRO HOLDINGS Inc. are collectively referred to as the “Group”) and Mitsubishi Materials Corporation (Head Office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, CEO: Naoki Ono, hereinafter “Mitsubishi Materials”) have started joint development of hydrometallurgical technology for recovering and refining the lithium, cobalt and nickel contained in black mass (*1), which is produced in the lithium-ion battery (hereinafter “LIB”) recycling process, with a view to commercialization.
(*1: Concentrated residue of lithium, cobalt and nickel sorted from LIBs that have been discharged, dried and crushed)
LIBs that contain minor metals are widely used in mobile devices such as smartphones and home appliances. In addition, demand for LIBs is expected to continue to increase due to the popularization of electrified vehicles, including hybrid vehicles. However, there is concern that the supply of minor metals including lithium, cobalt and nickel, which are the main materials used in LIBs, will be insufficient in the near future, and in addition to the development of underground resources, measures such as the recycling of materials and the development of alternative materials have become important issues in the growth strategy of the entire industry.
2. Main purpose of joint development
In this joint development, we will accelerate development by combining their mutually cultivated know-how with hydrometallurgical technology and work to develop technologies for the commercialization of the recovery of minor metals by using black mass as the raw material. By establishing recycling technology for recovering these minor metals with high efficiency, we will contribute to the construction of an integrated LIBs to LIBs system from LIB recycling to stable supply of materials for LIBs.
3. Description of joint development
This joint development by the Group and Mitsubishi Materials aims to establish a highly efficient process for recovering lithium, cobalt and nickel from the black mass produced in the LIB recycling process.
Recycling flow of LIBs and area of joint development
4. Comments from representatives
Tomikazu Sano, Representative Director, ENVIPRO HOLDINGS Inc.
China and South Korea were among the first countries to commercialize
LIB recycling and they are expanding the scale every year.
However, while there are several companies in Japan engaging in the
black mass production, which is the primary processing step in LIB
recycling, no company has yet managed to commercialize the smelting
field, which is the following process step.
This joint development agreement with Mitsubishi Materials aims to
realize a closed-loop of LIBs to LIBs, and is an initiative that serves the
national interest from the perspective of resource security.
We have been working in the recycling industry for more than 70 years.
This time I am absolutely determined to lead this project to be successful
by generously providing the recycling technology and know-how that we
Nobuhiro Takayanagi, Managing Executive Officer, Mitsubishi Materials Corporation
We have been actively promoting recycling in our various business fields,
including the processing of shredder dust and E-scrap at copper smelters
and our investments in home appliance recycling plants.
We have decided to work with Envipro Holdings to jointly develop a new
recycling process for recovering minor metals from the black mass of LIBs
using hydrometallurgy, with a view to commercializing the process.
We will make the most of the smelting technology we have cultivated thus
far to make this project a success, with the aim of quickly commercializing
the process and contributing to the stable supply of materials for LIBs and
the construction of a LIB recycling system.
5. Corporate information
|ENVIPRO HOLDINGS Inc.|
|（1）Address||87-1 Tanaka-cho, Fujinomiya-shi, Shizuoka|
|（2）Representative||Tomikazu Sano, Representative Director|
|（3）Description of business||Business management of affiliated companies (general recycling, trading, welfare services for people with disabilities, environmental consulting, etc.) and associated operations|
|（1）Address||55-1 Ohno, Fuji-shi, Shizuoka|
|（2）Representative||Kenta Imai, President|
|（3）Description of business||Recycling business for rechargeable batteries such as lithium-ion batteries and nickel metal hydride batteries|
|（4）Capital||400 million yen|
|（6）Shareholder||ENVIPRO HOLDINGS Inc.100%|
|Mitsubishi Materials Corporation|
|（1）Address||3-2-3 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo|
|（2）Representative||Naoki Ono, Chief Executive Officer|
|（3）Description of business||
Copper & copper alloy business, Electronic materials &
|（4）Capital||119,457 million yen|