Aqua Metals, Inc. announced plans to create the first truly sustainable circular supply chain in the United States for the critical minerals essential to domestic lithium battery manufacturing. Aqua Metals and 6K Energy have signed a multi-part memorandum of understanding (MOU) covering the scope of the collaboration in the coming years.
This novel partnership marks a pivotal moment for decarbonization and electrification in the U.S., further enabling the nation’s ambitious goal of establishing a robust domestic supply chain for clean energy technologies. The co-located facility at 6K Energy’s PlusCAM site in Jackson, TN will be the first sustainable circular supply producing low-carbon cathode active materials (CAM) for new batteries using domestically sourced end-of-life batteries and scrap materials from manufacturing partners as feedstock.
The strategic partners’ plan outlines a future joint venture to co-locate the full-scale lithium battery recycling facility engineered and operated by Aqua Metals to supply 6K Energy’s PlusCAM cathode manufacturing plant. The shared facility will utilize Aqua Metals’ state-of-the-art Li AquaRefining sustainable recycling technology to convert spent batteries and manufacturing scraps into raw materials for 6K Energy’s proprietary UniMelt® sustainable CAM manufacturing process – eliminating tens of thousands of tons of carbon pollution and waste from the battery supply chain each year. The MOU includes a proposed supply agreement for recycled materials from Aqua Metals to meet the critical mineral needs of the 13,000 tonnes-per-year PlusCAM facility.
Aqua Metals’ patented AquaRefining technology recovers critical metals from spent lithium batteries using electricity in a closed loop, lowering emissions, and reducing landfill waste by 95% compared to current battery recycling processes. 6K Energy’s UniMelt process is the world’s first full-scale microwave plasma production system, delivering significantly lower emissions and reduced capital and operating costs versus current cathode production methods.
PlusCAM will be the world’s first UniMelt plasma cathode manufacturing plant, providing low-cost, ultra-sustainable production of battery material in the U.S. 6K Energy has raised more than $350M, including a $50M grant from the Department of Energy, to fund the buildout and expansion of PlusCAM facilities.
Aqua Metals currently operates the first sustainable lithium battery recycling facility at its Li AquaRefining pilot. It is also developing a five-acre, 10,000 tonnes-per-year clean metals recycling campus nearby in the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center – enough critical material for 50,000 EV batteries each year. Over a decade of battery recycling innovation, Aqua Metals has raised $275 million to support the commercialization of its innovative technology and is applying for government-backed loans and grants to further accelerate commercial-scale deployments.
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Filed Under: Batteries