Li-Cycle supercharges growth with $375M loan commitment

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Li-Cycle Holdings Corp. has received a $375 million loan commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy to help finance the battery recycler’s plans for a Rochester Hub and create 270 new jobs.

The loan, with a term of up to 12 years, is the first conditional commitment from the DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program. It supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s effort to onshore and re-shore EV and critical mineral supply chains, create jobs, and make half of all new vehicles sold in 2030, zero-emissions vehicles, DOE says.

The Rochester Hub is expected to be the first commercial hydrometallurgical resource recovery facility in North America. Its hydrometallurgical process produces no wastewater discharge, minimal solid waste streams and relatively low air emissions. The facility is expected to support the battery needs of approximately 203,000 electric vehicles annually, advance the electrification of the U.S. automotive fleet to lower related emissions and strengthen the domestic EV supply chain.

The Rochester Hub is expected bring 1,000 new construction jobs as well. It aims to become a significant domestic source of battery-grade materials, including lithium, nickel and cobalt.

Li-Cycle, a Mississauga, Ont.-based company, has had a presence at the Eastman Business Park since 2020. A year ago, Li-Cycle employed roughly 40 employees in Rochester. It now employs more than 200.

The Rochester Hub and its warehouse will be located on more than 65 acres, or 50 football fields, at the Eastman Business Park.

“The Rochester Hub is a cornerstone asset for Li-Cycle and its stakeholders and will be an important contributor to the clean energy economy,” says Ajay Kochhar, Li-Cycle co-founder, president and CEO. “As a sustainable pure-play battery material recycling company, we expect the Rochester Hub will position Li-Cycle as a leading domestic producer of recycled battery-grade materials for accelerating electrification demand to address climate change and secure energy independence.”

Sen. Charles Schumer D-NY, who was present at Li-Cycle’s announcement Monday along with Rep. Joseph Morelle and DOE officials, reminded the audience of a promise he made five months ago to help secure federal funds for jobs at Eastman Business Park. He called these positions “jobs with a future…because what Li-Cycle does is so important.”

“This DOE investment in Li-Cycle will reduce our reliance on China and strengthen America’s battery supply chain,” Schumer says. “And once the facility is at full steam, it is projected to be the biggest source of lithium carbonate in the United States. That means the heart of hundreds of thousands of electric vehicles, which will soon dominate our roads, will be made with battery components from right here in Rochester.”

Li-Cycle’s hub is expected to lead the way for Upstate New York to become the nation’s next hub for battery material manufacturing, he adds.

Li-Cycle operates on a spoke and hub business model, a vertically integrated, two-step lithium-ion battery recycling and resource recovery process. This supports the building of localized supply chains for battery-grade materials to accelerate the clean energy transition, officials say. Li-Cycle’s spoke and hub technologies enable the return of battery materials back to the domestic supply chain for re-use by battery manufacturers and electric vehicle and energy storage producers for a circular economy.

The spokes use Li-Cycle’s technology to recycle end-of-life battery materials and manufacturing scrap, processing full electric vehicle and energy storage battery packs through a submerged shredding process without any discharging or dismantling.

Li-Cycle has four operational spokes in North America with total processing capacity of more than 50,000 tons of lithium-ion battery material per year. The spokes, including one at Eastman Business Park, produce an intermediate product called black mass, which contains critical metals. These will be sent to the Rochester Hub for further processing into battery-grade material, Li-Cycle says.

The Rochester Hub is designed to have a processing capacity of up to 35,000 tons of black mass per year, which is equivalent to approximately 90,000 tons of lithium-ion battery material. Once fully operational, the Rochester Hub is expected to deliver annual production of up to 8,500 tons of lithium carbonate, 48,000 tons of nickel sulphate, and 7,500 tons of cobalt sulphate.

The loan, expected to close in the second quarter, is subject to documentation of agreements and certain conditions.

Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected]

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