Steel Mills

Stelco Eyes Shredder, EV Battery Recycling Plant for Lake Erie Works

Written by Michael Cowden

Stelco plans to enter the electric-vehicle (EV) battery recycling business with a new integrated shredding and hydrometallurgical refinery at its Lake Erie Works in Nanticoke, Ontario.

The Canadian flat-rolled steelmaker said engineering studies for the new recycling operation are expected to be completed in mid-2022 with the plant anticipated to start up in 2023.

stelcoThe cost of the new plant won’t be available until those studies are completed. But initial spending is expected to be minimal, the company said in a press release.

“Stelco will be able to recycle end-of-life electric vehicles, convert them into green steel and recover from their batteries high purity metals such as lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese,” company Executive Chairman and CEO Alan Kestenbaum said in a statement.

Kestenbaum said during an earnings conference call last year that Stelco was considering investing in “more futuristic” technologies, including battery metals.

Stelco estimates that it will be able to produce as much 18,400 tons per year of battery metals – nickel, manganese and cobalt sulphates, and lithium hydroxide and carbonate – from recycled EV batteries.

And it anticipates recovering another 40,000 tons per year of steel scrap from the vehicles themselves. Some of that scrap, which equates to approximately 25% of Stelco’s internal requirements, will be fed back into the company’s steelmaking operations.

The new recycling facility will also allow the company to create a “closed loop” system of recycling steel, scrap and battery metals directly with its automotive customers.

The proposed plant comes thanks to a binding licensing and options agreement with lithium-ion battery recycler Primobius GmbH, a joint venture between Australia’s Neometals Ltd. and German engineering and equipment manufacturing firm SMS Group.

Primobius has commissioned a facility like what Stelco wants to build. That plant, located in Hilchenbach, Germany, has capacity of 4,000 tons per year. The plant Stelco envisions would be five times larger with annual capacity of 20,000 tons.

The EV sector – and related supply chains – are expected to continue to see exponential growth in the years ahead.

By Michael Cowden,

Michael Cowden

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