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Li-Metal names Godavarthy new CEO

Godavarthy previously worked at Abemarle Corp.

IMAGE: Dr. Srini Godavarthy, Li-Metal's incoming CEO.
Srini Godavarthy, Li-Metal's incoming CEO. (Courtesy Li-Metal Corp.)

Markham, Ont.-based lithium metal anode developer Li-Metal Corp. has appointed Srini Godavarthy as its new CEO, effective May 15.

Previously, Godavarthy led the lithium metals and specialty salts business at Albemarle Corp., a chemical manufacturing company in Charlotte, N.C. His team was responsible for the commercial and technological development for lithium metal, solid-state electrolytes and lithium metal anodes.

“We are thrilled to have an industry expert join Li-Metal's management team as CEO,” Tim Johnston, Li-Metal (LIM-CN) co-founder and director, said in a statement.

“After an extensive search, the board of directors concluded that Dr. Godavarthy's hands-on experience in the lithium industry, including lithium metal and anode technologies as well as his experience developing partnerships with next-generation battery players, made him the ideal candidate to lead Li-Metal through this next phase of growth."

Previous CEO and co-founder Maciej Jastrzebski will continue to serve as an executive director and will transition into the newly created chief technology officer role.

Electra signs MOU with Three Fires Group

Toronto-based Electra Battery Materials Corporation has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Three Fires Group (TFG) to form a joint venture focused on the recycling of lithium-ion battery waste in Ontario, underpinned by Electra’s propriety black mass processing technology.

The hydrometallurgical process can recover elements like lithium, nickel, cobalt and graphite. Black mass is a term for the metals found in recycled, end-of-life batteries.

The Three Fires Confederacy includes groups that make up the Anishinabek Nation, including the Ojibway, Chippewa, Odawa, Potawatomi, Mississauga, Algonquins, Delawares and Oji-Cree. TFG supports First Nations investments in non-fossil fuel and clean energy projects.

“We are excited by the opportunity to work with the Three Fires Group and solve a pressing challenge of the EV battery supply chain, namely how to recycle and repurpose battery waste,” Trent Mell, CEO of Electra (ELBM-X), said in a statement. 

“Our joint venture will pave the way for producers of various lithium-ion batteries and energy storage equipment in Ontario to reduce their waste, reuse high-value and increasingly scarce commodities like nickel and cobalt, and lower carbon emissions in their manufacturing activities.”

Electra and TFG will source and process lithium-ion battery waste generated by manufacturers of battery cells, electric vehicles and energy storage systems. The waste will be processed at a facility to be located in Southern Ontario to produce black mass material, which will be further broken down using Electra’s process at its refinery complex north of Toronto.

They will also work together to secure a “net-zero industrial facility” to shred and separate lithium-ion batteries and produce black mass material.

In March, Electra successfully recovered lithium from its black mass recycling project at its refinery. It is currently commissioning North America's only cobalt sulfate refinery.

Government to electrify TTC, Saskatoon bus fleets

The Canadian government and the City of Toronto are investing $700 million into the electrification of the Toronto Transit Commission’s (TTC) fleet.

The federal government is contributing $349 million to the project through the Zero Emission Transit Fund, while the city is contributing $351 million.

The TTC will purchase 340 zero-emission buses and 248 bus chargers. The funding will also support upgrades to related infrastructure in eight bus garages, including site upgrades, equipment procurement and charger installations.

The TTC has a goal of net-zero emissions by 2040.

The Canadian government also made a joint investment of $420,000 with the City of Saskatoon to develop a plan electrify Saskatoon Transit’s fleet. 

That fleet consists of 170 buses operating on 41 routes and 1,500 stops.

This funding will “create a five-phase strategy that will review the costs, assess the risks and advantages, and identify the infrastructure and internal resources needed to transition to a low-carbon fleet,” according to a release.

The $2.5-billion Zero Emission Transit Fund was created in 2021.

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