Battery Resourcers News

Battery Resourcers, a startup that’s developing a closed-loop approach to lithium-ion battery materials, has raised $70 million in mid-round funding to scale its commercial operations across two continents.

Battery Resourcers closed-loop lithium-ion battery materials,

The company, which is based in Worcester, Massachusetts, doesn’t just recycle batteries. It has also engineered a process to turn that recycled material back into critical battery materials — specifically, nickel-manganese-cobalt cathodes and purified graphite, a material used in anodes. It intends to sell those materials right back to the battery manufacturer.

This latest round saw participation from new investor Hitachi Ventures, as well as existing investors Orbia Ventures, Jaguar Land Rover’s InMotion Ventures, Doral Energy, At One Ventures, TDK Ventures and Trumpf Ventures.

Battery Resources secured a $20 million Series B a little over five months ago. That funding was to accelerate the launch of the startup’s first commercial-scale facility, which will be able to process 10,000 tons of batteries per year. CEO Michael O’Kronley told TechCrunch in a recent interview that that plant will open in the first quarter of 2022, though the company has not yet announced where it will be located in the U.S.

With this new funding, the company will be opening two additional commercial-scale sites in Europe, which will be operational by the end of 2022. In all, Battery Resourcers aims to have 30,000 tons of recycling capacity by the end of next year across its three commercial-scale locations. Cathode material production will be added to these sites in the following year.

There are a number of reasons to look abroad, O’Kronley said, not least because Battery Resourcers anticipates Europe being an even larger market than the U.S.

“Europe has the same concerns the U.S. does about retaining critical battery materials in the supply chain,” he said, adding that European lawmakers currently mandate battery recycling on the part of OEMs, and will likely mandate the use of recycled materials in batteries. “Couple that with the amount and the number of gigafactories that have been announced in Europe, relative to the U.S., most people believe, including Battery Resourcers, we believe the European market will be larger than the North American market.”

Battery Resourcers CEO Michael O’Kronley Portrait
Battery Resourcers CEO Michael O’Kronley

The lion’s share of critical battery materials are currently produced in Asia, but O’Kronley said the industry is shifting from being highly concentrated in specific locations to a more global operation.

“Whether it’s the Asian company that is moving to Europe or North America, or new entrants that are coming in and supplying Europe and North America — we’re a new entrant coming in supplying these regions — the battery material supply chain will absolutely have to be localized,” he said. “We’re part of that.”

O’Kronley added that the company has been in talks with a number of OEMs and consumer electronics companies, but declined to specify any details. However, he did say that vehicle OEMs and battery manufacturers have already taken the company’s cathode material and built it into batteries for testing and to compare it to “virgin” cathodes.

“It’s Battery Resourcers’ belief that long term, you need a vertically integrated supply chain, and to be able to extract the highest amount of value out of these spent batteries,” O’Kronley said. “We’re moving upstream in making these engineering materials that go right back into a new battery.”


Press release:

in Massachusetts and Michigan to support accelerated growth

With a strategic facility conversion, paired with multiple expansions, the battery material and manufacturing company has increased its processing capacity for battery production.

WORCESTER, Mass., Aug. 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Battery Resourcers, a vertically integrated lithium-ion battery recycling and manufacturing company, today announced the opening of two new pilot plants, in addition to the conversion of its current operation in Worcester, Massachusetts, to support the company's overall expansion and to service new customers. The expansion will serve to build Battery Resourcers' processing capacity, as well as further support the technology development of closed loop sustainable materials. Beyond simple recycling, this process returns custom developed cathode back into the supply chain. The advanced new facilities, strategically located in Westborough, Massachusetts and Novi, Michigan, mark a significant step in scaling up Battery Resourcers' pilot operations before continued commercial expansion in North America, as well as Europe, that will be announced later this year.

More than just a battery recycling service, Battery Resourcers is a battery materials company providing multiple material re-entry options into the battery supply chain. Materials produced range from critical metals (lithium, cobalt, nickel and manganese) to more highly engineered battery materials such as cathode precursors, cathode active materials and battery-grade graphite. With this expansion and opening of additional United States facilities, Battery Resourcers has positioned itself as a leading company in the production of sustainable battery materials to support the needs of battery producers and vehicle equipment manufacturers as they expand their electric vehicle (EV) production.

"The completion of this comprehensive expansion project is a critical milestone for Battery Resourcers," shares Michael O'Kronley, CEO and director of Battery Resourcers. "With this strategic facility conversion, paired with multiple expansions, Battery Resourcers has the increased capability and capacity for processing end-of-life, warranty return and production scrap batteries into cathode active material for new battery production."

As part of this important expansion, the current Battery Resourcers operation center in Worcester, Massachusetts will be converted into a mechanical shredding operation, including disassembly, discharge and shredding operation for cells, modules and complete battery packs. In addition to research and development support, the Worcester operation will be part of the company's spoke network to support the rapidly expanding EV market.

The brand new facility in Westborough, Massachusetts will process black mass to cathode precursor material and purify the recovered graphite to battery grade at a purity level higher than 99.9%. The battery material research and development team will also be relocated to Westborough to closely integrate lab development and increased manufacturing scaling efforts. The Novi, Michigan facility will support the company's commitment to developing and commercializing battery materials, including the sintering and finishing of high-energy density nickel manganese cobalt cathode. The Novi site also contains a state of the art materials analytical lab, as well as lab scale battery production and test capabilities, to fully evaluate the performance of Battery Resourcers' battery materials.

at Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling and Manufacturing Startup, Battery Resourcers

Worcester, Mass. (July 22, 2021) Battery Resourcers, a vertically integrated lithium-ion battery recycling and manufacturing company, today announced the appointment of Kelly Kay to its board of directors. Ms. Kay currently serves as executive vice president, chief financial officer and chief diversity & inclusion officer at the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) in Los Altos, Calif. Her appointment comes just three months after Battery Resourcers (BR) completed a $20 million Series B equity round and announced the development of a commercial-scale processing facility with the capacity to process 10,000 tons of batteries annually.

“This is pivotal moment for Battery Resourcers as we work to scale up and commercialize our technology,” said Mike O’Kronley, CEO and Director of Battery Resourcers. “Kelly’s experience at high growth companies and her deep knowledge of business operations and strategy will help bring BR to the next level in our development, with her on our board of directors. She brings a passion for sustainability, aligning with our mission to return 100% of active battery materials back into the battery material supply chain.”

At TRI, Ms. Kay is responsible for overall business operations, technology delivery and diversity and inclusion efforts. She joined TRI in 2017 and formerly served as the organization’s chief operating officer (COO). Prior to TRI, she served as vice president of business operations at Lyft, Inc. and chief operating officer and president of YapStone, Inc., an electronic payments company in the real estate property space. She started her career as an attorney and held general counsel, associate general counsel and head of compliance roles at MasterCard, eBay, PayPal and J.P. Morgan.

“Battery Resourcers is at such a pivotal time of growth and commercialization for the industry and the company; I’m looking forward to joining the board and helping scale the company during this key inflection point,” said Kelly Kay. “BR’s unique technology and mission are key to building a sustainable future and to enabling electrification through the utilization of recycled battery materials.”

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