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Canadian firm Li-Cycle to build $175 million lithium-ion battery recycling hub in Monroe County

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Mon, Sep 14th 2020 12:35 pm

Sustainable technology company will further grow US operations at Eastman Business Park; commits to creating over 100 new jobs

NYS investment complements ‘Finger Lakes Forward,’ region's comprehensive strategy to revitalize communities & grow economy

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Li-Cycle Inc., a North America based lithium-ion battery resource recovery company, will further grow its operations in New York. The company will invest over $175 million in a lithium-ion battery recycling “hub” on a 15.4-acre parcel of land at Eastman Business Park (EBP). This is in addition to its Li-Cycle's first U.S. “spoke” operation already located at the park in Monroe County.

The company has committed to creating at least 100 new jobs at the hub, in addition to the 23 who will be working at the spoke facility. In January, Empire State Development announced Li-Cycle would establish its first U.S.-based facility in New York in an effort to tap into the robust lithium-ion battery supply chain and ecosystem in Rochester and the U.S.

Li-Cycle plans to begin construction on the “hub” facility in 2021.

"This international partnership with Li-Cycle will foster the supply chain of lithium-ion batteries, which are in high demand, and will further expand the thriving energy storage industry in the region," Cuomo said. "By investing in New York's cleantech economy, we are creating quality jobs and supporting our state's clean energy businesses as we build back stronger from the COVID crisis and continue to move the Finger Lakes forward."

Li-Cycle's "spoke" and "hub" operations will complement each other. There will be several U.S.-based “spokes” that aggregate and refine spent, lithium-ion batteries so that the materials are separated and can be made into products. Rochester's Li-Cycle Spoke, due to open this fall, will be capable of shredding up to 5,000 tons a year of spent lithium-ion batteries. Ultimately, the “hub” operation in Rochester will receive battery materials from the Rochester “spoke” and similar operations across the U.S., and process them further for use as raw materials in future manufacturing, including for new batteries.

ESD is assisting Li-Cycle with up to $5 million through the Excelsior Jobs Tax Credit Program once the business starts meeting new employment commitments. Monroe County and Greater Rochester Enterprise are also assisting with the project.

Li-Cycle Executive Chairman and Co-Founder Tim Johnston said, "We are excited to be able to announce Rochester as the location of Li-Cycle's first commercial ‘hub’ refinery. This facility will enable sustainable close-loop production of critical materials for the battery industry, such as cobalt, nickel and lithium, right here in North America, supporting the development of electric vehicles and other sustainable energy applications. We deeply appreciate the continued support of the local community, government agencies and Kodak in the development of this project."

Founded in 2016 in Ontario, Canada, Li-Cycle has developed and validated a unique process that allows it to recover 80% to 100% of all materials found in lithium-ion batteries while maintaining no wastewater discharge and actualizing the company's zero-waste philosophy. All materials that are recovered from lithium-ion batteries are either processed to the point of being reusable in battery production, thus closing the loop, reusable in other applications or sent for further processing to other recyclers (e.g. steel and plastics) to ensure all materials generated are being returned to the economy. The company is capable of processing all types of lithium-ion batteries used in electronic devices, e-mobility, electric vehicles and energy storage.

Li-Cycle selected Eastman Business Park after determining it was the best location for the company to quickly develop the “hub” by leveraging existing infrastructure at the park and provide services to its growing client base across the U.S. and beyond.

The project builds on the success story that is the rebirth of Eastman Business Park, where more than 6,000 people work at 114 companies now operating. Other sustainable technology efforts at EBP aimed at growing the sustainable energy ecosystem include the BEST Test and Commercialization Center, the Kodak Cell Assembly Center and Plug Power. Other companies also thriving at EBP include DuPont, which last year opened the largest probiotics fermentation facility in the world, L3 Harris, LiDestri Food & Drink and Clearwater Organic Farms, which will also open a state-of-the-art, commercial hydroponic greenhouse in the fall of 2020.

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner, President and CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, "Our investment in Li-Cycle's lithium-ion battery recycling facility at Eastman Business Park represents our continued commitment not only to this company, but in broader economic opportunities within the sustainable energy industry. This forward-thinking project will add high-quality jobs in the Finger Lakes region and advance our efforts to establish New York state as a world leader in energy storage."

Doreen M. Harris, acting president and CEO of NYSERDA, said, "Today's announcement demonstrates the impacts of Gov. Cuomo's leadership in advancing new, clean technologies across all sectors through public-private partnerships that will spur economic development and job growth. Growing the energy storage sector is critically important to achieving our nation-leading clean energy goals. Li-Cycle is showing tremendous leadership with their commitment on that as well as their zero-waste philosophy, and we welcome them as a partner in New York's thriving clean energy economy."

Eastman Business Park President and Kodak CFO Dave Bullwinkle said, "The planned Li-Cycle Hub project is a perfect fit for Eastman Business Park and Rochester. The ‘hub’ project needs the vast resources of the park, including the utilities provided by RED-Rochester and the rail, security, risk and facilities management services provided by Kodak. The new jobs created by the proposed project will directly and indirectly benefit the Rochester area."

For additional information regarding Li-Cycle, visit the company's website here.

This announcement complements "Finger Lakes Forward," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The state has already invested more than $8.07 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million state investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Cuomo in December 2015. The state's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.

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