Centre for recycling lithium-ion batteries to open next year

A new facility for recycling lithium-ion batteries, found in mobile phones and electric vehicles, is set to open in Singapore.

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon announced yesterday that the recycling facility, named TES B, will be set up by global e-waste recycler TES. It is expected to cost about $20 million.

Speaking at the Asia Clean Energy Summit at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Dr Koh cited the new facility as a company investment that exemplifies green growth opportunities.

"This is an exciting development as the use of batteries for grid-related energy storage is projected to grow globally, to manage the increasing adoption of intermittent renewable energy such as solar," said Dr Koh.

Dr Koh added that the recycling facility would allow precious metals from the lithium-ion batteries to be reused to make new batteries for products such as mobile phones and electric vehicles.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, a spokesman for TES said that the Singapore facility, which is expected to be completed by February next year, will recycle 14 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries - or the equivalent of about 280,000 smartphone batteries - each day.

The battery recycling process involves auto-punching machines and shredders that will first break down batteries into fine substances. Magnetic separators are then used to recover copper and aluminium, while a chemical treatment process is used to recover cobalt and lithium.

TES said that the process, which is environmentally friendly, does not release contaminants such as heavy metals or volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere.

The facility is expected to cover a land area of 10,000 sq m, which is about the size of two football fields.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2019, with the headline 'Centre for recycling lithium-ion batteries to open next year'. Print Edition | Subscribe