AGL explores battery recycling for Hunter Energy Hub

Pile of lithium ion batteries ready for recycling (AGL battery)
Image: Shutterstock

AGL and battery recycling start-up, Renewable Metals, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop a pre-feasibility study into establishing a lithium battery recycling facility at AGL’s future Hunter Energy Hub in New South Wales.

The pre-feasibility study will outline key indicative project infrastructure and engineering requirements and identify regulatory approvals and licences necessary for the development, construction, and operation of the project.

Related article: CEFC backs battery recycling startup Renewable Metals

The potential facility could be the first full-scale Renewable Metals recycling facility with a planned capacity of 5,000 tonnes per year initially.

In September 2023, Renewable Metals successfully opened its second pilot plant in Perth, Western Australia and is currently developing a demonstration plant to support engineering design for its proposed commercial facility at the Hunter Energy Hub. Renewable Metals received a grant from the NSW Critical Minerals and High-Tech Metals Activation Fund towards its feasibility study.

Renewable Metals has developed an innovative process for lithium-ion battery recycling that achieves up to 95% recovery of the critical minerals such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, copper and manganese. The potential battery recycling facility could recycle a wide range of lithium-ion battery types, from grid storage batteries to EV modules to battery cells in consumer electronic products such as laptops.

AGL general manager energy hubs Travis Hughes said this is an example of the type of partnerships AGL is exploring developing as it transitions its thermal sites into integrated energy hubs.

“Our current strategy is to transition the Liddell and Bayswater sites into the Hunter Energy Hub, by bringing renewable energy generation and associated industries to those sites,” he said.

“The reuse of critical minerals through battery recycling will be an important part of the energy transition. This potential facility could recycle batteries from electric vehicles to grid scale storage and is aligned with how we are thinking about bringing partners to our energy hubs who share our approach to minimising the environmental impact of the transition.”

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Renewable Metals CEO Luan Atkinson said, “Renewable Metals is excited to be working with the AGL to further our vision to close the loop in the battery value chain. We’re looking forward to actively contributing to the transformation of the Hunter region into a renewable energy powerhouse. The potential facility could not only help us achieve our environmental goals but could also create valuable job opportunities and stimulate economic growth within the community.”

As part of AGL’s Climate Transition Action Plan, AGL has an ambition to add ~12GW of new renewable generation and firming capacity by the end of 2035.

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