PM Review Autumn/Fall 2021

Page 107

6K: Sustainable battery materials

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A route to the sustainable production of battery materials with 6K’s plasma technology Whilst the move towards vehicle electrification comes with the promise of a clean, green future, there are concerns about both the environmental impact of raw material production for batteries and political concerns surrounding the sources of these materials. US-based material producer 6K Inc. is leveraging its plasma technology to provide a more efficient route for the processing and recycling of materials for EV batteries. Here, 6K’s Bruce Bradshaw and Richard Holman share insight into the company’s vision and technology to meet some of the challenges faced as we head towards an electric future.

Any practical approach to domestic (or ‘on-shored’) battery material production must be characterised by low production cost at scale, low environmental impact relative to today’s legacy processes, and the flexibility to adapt to the rapidly changing chemistry landscape. Considering the huge increase in volume that comes with widespread electric vehicle (EV) adoption, sustainability – with respect to battery material production – will become critical. Finding solutions to these issues will reduce the reliance on foreign dependence of battery materials, and, as such, reduce the logistical costs and supply uncertainty. In this article, we will discuss a unique plasma process that successfully addresses all these critical elements, as well as having the capability to recycle and upcycle end-of-life battery materials. This new process enables the next generation of materials in the energy, transportation, and indus-

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trial sectors by displacing costly and wasteful legacy manufacturing approaches with a lower-cost sustainable production technology, providing a path to meeting the cost demands battery producers, recyclers and OEMs require.

A tipping point: Embracing batteries for EVs globally It is no secret that in recent years the popularity of batteries has skyrocketed, with cells being used to store energy at a momentous scale.

Fig. 1 The biggest driver for improving battery technology is vehicle electrification

Autumn/Fall 2021

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