With a joint funding of $3.9 million from the governments of Canada and Quebec, the National Center for Electrochemistry and Environmental Technologies (CNETE), a college center for technology transfer at Shawinigan College, will develop a new niche for applied research over 5 years. The acquisition of new expertise and new research and development equipment will enable the development and integration of a regional battery recycling network. This project, with a total value of $6.34 million, will be carried out in partnership with several organizations, including Nemaska Lithium and Société Laurentide, and should lead to the development of recycling plants for various types of batteries in the City of Shawinigan.
CNETE collaborates with Société Laurentide and Nemaska Lithium in the development of green chemistry products, the repurposing of post-consumer paints and the production of lithium hydroxide. These collaborations have had a significant impact on the region, such as the establishment of the Nemaska production facility in Shawinigan. Société Laurentide collects and sorts used batteries in the province of Quebec and plans to recycle alkaline batteries first and prepare for handling lithium batteries subsequently.
Industrial synergy between Nemaska and Société Laurentide is expected over the long term, thus allowing Nemaska to exploit the lithium deposit of used batteries. This collaboration will allow the establishment of a high-tech energy sector and the consolidation of the regional capacity in R&D and innovation, which will be key factors to attract other companies to the region.
The project is divided into three components: the mechanical conditioning for each group of batteries (alkaline and Li-ion), the extraction and refining of metals, and the purification of lithium-rich solutions.
For the CNETE, this project will integrate and leverage its existing expertise (green chemistry, electrochemistry and electro-membrane) to propel it towards the development of new industrial expertise, versatile and applicable to other projects (extraction of metals and rare earth from industrial residues such as dross, ashes, sludge, lamps, etc.).
For the industrial partners, this is an exceptional opportunity to benefit from a synergy of scientific expertise in order to develop new processes in a rapidly growing niche.