Photo: 24M Technologies

MIT spinout and battery maker 24M Technologies today debuted a new direct-material battery recycling process for EV batteries and battery storage.

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based 24M Technologies, which boasts Volkswagen as a commercial partner, “has simplified lithium-ion battery production with a new design that requires fewer materials and fewer steps to manufacture each cell,” according to MIT News. 24 Technologies says the design, which it calls “SemiSolid” for its use of gooey electrodes, reduces production costs by up to 40%. The approach also improves the batteries’ energy density, safety, and recyclability.

Today the company unveiled the battery recycling process Liforever, a potential battery technology game-changer for EVs and energy storage systems. What’s cool about Liforever is that 24M built it right into its battery manufacturing process, offering a way to recycle battery materials like lithium iron phosphate (LFP) more efficiently and cost-effectively.

“Better battery recycling is essential for a sustainable energy future, but the use of binders in conventional cell production has made direct recycling impractical,” said 24M Technologies CEO Naoki Ota. “Liforever solves these challenges by enabling the reuse of nearly every part of the battery cell without requiring the expensive, inefficient, and environmentally challenging processes used in conventional cell recycling.”

Traditional lithium-ion recycling methods involve processes that are not just expensive but also toxic, resulting in a kind of e-waste known as black mass. This harms the structure of key battery materials and makes recycling less economically viable, especially for cheaper materials like LFP. Usually, only the more expensive metals are salvaged for reuse.

24M asserts that Liforever keeps the battery’s active materials in their original form, bypassing the creation of black mass entirely – a feat that sets it apart in the industry. This innovation allows for the recycling of all active materials, including those from the anode and cathode. After the materials are recovered, they’re cleaned and, if necessary, re-lithiated to bring them back to their original performance levels.

The company says the Liforever recycling methodology is designed to be compatible with current and anticipated future recycling regulations. 24M says its SemiSolid process is chemistry agnostic, so Liforever will support next-gen batteries of all chemistry types.

Read more: Volvo is going to turn used EV batteries into new battery storage

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