Perth-based lithium battery recycler, Renewable Metals, has won the inaugural Supercharge Australia Innovation Challenge Award with technology that turns battery waste into battery metals.
The Renewable Metals process achieves more than 95 per cent recovery of the valuable materials in lithium batteries including lithium, nickel, cobalt, copper, manganese and graphite, without creating black mass and saving 20-30 per cent of the costs of standard recycling.
The Supercharge Award winners were announced at an event hosted by Dan Ilic at EnergyLab in Sydney on March 30, 2023.
Despite producing almost 60 per cent of the world’s lithium, Australia retains less than one per cent of the US$400 billion and rising annual product value.
Sicona came second with a University of Wollongong-developed technology to produce next generation battery materials used in the anodes of lithium-ion batteries for electric-mobility and storage of renewable energy.
Roev, was third – it converts fleets of utes to electric, solving unmet demand and managing energy usage.
Fourth-place was Brisbane-based Vaulta, which makes recyclable and repairable high-performance batteries.
Ninety-eight per cent of the lithium mined in Australia is refined overseas. Supercharge Australia aims to support lithium battery innovation in Australia and capture more of the value chain, by encouraging export-oriented lithium battery value chain start-ups.
Danny Kennedy, Chief Executive Officer of New Energy Nexus and Managing Director of the California Clean Energy Fund, said Australian innovators are uniquely placed to supply emerging and mature global markets with low impact lithium products and resources to support energy transition with better batteries.
“I’ve seen billion-dollar battery recycling start-ups in the United States emerging in the last few years and none have technology as exciting as this,” Kennedy said.
EnergyLab has supported Australian start-ups focused on clean energy and climate tech since 2017, with more than 150 program alumni.
In the Supercharge Australia Innovation Challenge, 11 start-ups ranging from developers of novel cell chemistries to electric vehicle up-scalers and critical metals recyclers, were matched with mentors and experts with the aim of bolstering the national battery ecosystem.
The award judges are Katerina Kimmorley, Head of Commercial and Investments, Boundless; Megan Fisher, Chief Executive Officer, EnergyLab; Dr Adam Best, Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO; Danny Kennedy, Chief Energy Officer, New Energy Nexus.