EV Plug-In: Lithion, GM partner on circular battery system

Business reporter
  • Sep. 23, 2022
IMAGE: GM and Lithion logos

Courtesy Lithion Recycling Inc.

Montreal-based Lithion Recycling Inc. and GM Ventures, the investment arm of General Motors Inc., have created a strategic partnership agreement to pursue a circular battery ecosystem. The partnership also includes an investment in Lithion’s Series A funding round.

According to a third-party life-cycle analysis, Lithion’s recycling technology with a recovery rate of over 95 per cent will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by over 75 per cent and water usage by over 90 per cent compared to mining battery materials. This improvement is helped in part by use of Quebec’s green energy.

The collaboration will focus on the potential to acquire battery materials and the production of new batteries. There will also be a joint investment in research and development for both recycling processes and recyclability of future battery designs.

In 2023, Lithion will launch its first commercial recycling operations, drawing on data from its industrial-scale demonstration plant with a 200-tonne annual capacity — equivalent to 300 to 650 electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

The facility, which will have a capacity of 7,500 metric tonnes of lithium-ion batteries per year, will be followed by the launch of Lithion’s first hydrometallurgical plant in 2025.

According to a release, Lithion has a pipeline of facilities in development in the U.S., Europe and South Korea. By 2035, it plans to have 25 recycling plants around the world.

“GM is aggressively scaling battery cell and EV production in North America to reach our target of more than 1 million units of annual capacity by 2025, and we plan to eliminate tailpipe emissions from all our new light-duty vehicles by 2035 – so we are building a supply chain and recycling strategy that can grow with us,” Jeff Morrison, GM’s vice president of global purchasing and supply chain said in a statement on the partnership.

“In Lithion’s technology, we see the opportunity to recover and reuse raw material in our Ultium battery packs, making the EVs we produce even more sustainable and helping drive down costs.”

Ultium Cells LLC is a joint venture between GM (GM-N) and LG Energy Solution. It was founded in 2019 for use in GM’s portfolio as well as Honda and Acura vehicles. In August, it opened its first U.S. battery cell plant, with two additional plants under construction. A fourth planned battery cell plant will bring GM’s projected total U.S. battery capacity to 160 GW-h.

GM has also pledged to localize its battery supply chain in North America moving forward.

Ionomr releases Pemion membrane and polymer

Ionomr Innovations Inc. has released Pemion, a hydrocarbon-based proton exchange membrane and polymer used in large, green hydrogen fuel cell applications.

A proton exchange membrane and polymer fuel cell allows energy generated from the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen to transform into electricity. It can be used in It can be used in heavy industry, transportation, automotive or stationary power.

Pemion is produced without perfluorinated sulfonic acid (PFSA). Polymers and membranes made with PFSAs are potentially toxic and can seep into water sources, accumulate biologically in living organisms and are difficult to recycle.

As a result of its increased environmental friendliness, Pemion also claims it is easier to recycle end-of-life catalysts in the material.

“Governments and regulators across Europe, in the U.S., indeed around the world, are rightly calling for the elimination of toxic, perfluorinated materials. Pemion is an ideal replacement for conventional materials, for its environmental benefits and for its superior performance,” Bill Haberlin, Ionomr’s CEO, said in a statement on the product.

“With our Pemion materials now produced at scale, our partners can take their fuel-cell and other clean-energy technologies to market faster, cleaner and with better performance.”

Founded in 2018, Ionomr employs 43 people in Vancouver and Rochester, N.Y.

Electra signs cobalt agreement with LG Energy Solutions

Electra Battery Materials Corp. has signed a three-year agreement to provide battery grade cobalt to LG Energy Solution; 7,000 tonnes of it from 2023 to 2025. It will be provided from the only cobalt sulfate refinery in North America, located in Timiskaming Shores north of Toronto.

Under the terms of the agreement, it can supply up to 1.5 million EVs. At full capacity, Electra’s (ELBM-X) facility will produce enough cobalt to supply up to the same amount of EVs per year.

SustainableBiz recently reported on Electra and its plans for the battery supply chain. Those plans include a scoping study examining the economics and carbon footprint of a nickel sulfate refinery at the proposed Electra battery park in 2025 or 2026 producing 10,000 tonnes of battery-grade nickel sulfate and nickel equivalent precursor cathode active material per year.

“North American OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) in particular have started to realize that there was too much reliance on China. In fact, there are a couple of metals that are key to NMC (nickel, manganese, cobalt) batteries, between 75 and 90 per cent are processed in China,” Joe Racanelli, Electra’s vice president of investor relations told SustainableBiz at the time. “Given some geopolitical developments over the past couple of years, the realization is that that’s not going to be advantageous or strategic.”

TUGA files patent for food delivery module

TUGA Innovations Inc. has filed a patent for the TUGA Delivery Box — designed for use with its three-wheeled, fully electric inline driver/cargo configuration.

The module will offer automated environmental controls including heating and cooling, air filtration and weight distribution. It will also be designed to offer optional wheels that can be motorized, or drone attachments for airborne delivery.

Vancouver-based TUGA’s (TUGA-CN) line of two-seater EVs, designed to be no wider than a motorcycle, are estimated to have a range of 160 kms and a top speed of 140 km/h.

Earlier in September, SustainableBiz had reported on another of TUGA’s patents — an emissions measuring technology called PLUME. It is designed to provide real-time emissions data from internal combustion engines.

The company states by measuring the actual emissions from these engines, it will allow users to compare that data to the claims of manufacturers. It will then visualize that data in augmented reality.

Manchester orders 50 Alexander Dennis buses

NFI Group Inc. subsidiary Alexander Dennis Ltd. has received an order for 50 zero-emission double-deck buses from the Transport for Greater Manchester, to be used in the first phase of the franchised Bee Network bus system launching in September 2023.

The Bee Network will be Greater Manchester’s integrated transport system comprising buses, trams, walking, cycling and eventually trains.

Winnipeg-based NFI (NFI-T) acquired Alexander Dennis in May 2019. The U.K.-based subsidiary has EVs operating or on order in 110 cities in six countries.

The electric buses will be built at Alexander Dennis’s factory in Scarborough, North Yorkshire and are due to operate in Wigan and Bolton. About 300 more electric buses will be delivered from 2024 through to 2027.



Nicholas Sokic is a freelance, Toronto-based journalist. He has covered a number of sectors, including business, finance, crypto, health, cannabis and culture. He graduated from Western University's Master of Media…

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Nicholas Sokic is a freelance, Toronto-based journalist. He has covered a number of sectors, including business, finance, crypto, health, cannabis and culture. He graduated from Western University's Master of Media…

Read more



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