Southeast Asia’s First Battery Recycling Facility to Recover Precious Metals from Batteries Opens in Singapore
SINGAPORE, 24 March 2021 — E-waste recycling giant TES officially opened its multimillion-dollar, state-of-the-art facility today to recycle lithium batteries in Singapore. Known as TES B, the plant is the first of its kind in Southeast Asia and has the daily capacity to recycle up to 14 tonnes or the equivalent of 280,000 lithium-ion smartphone batteries. The facility uses a combination of mechanic equipment and hydrometallurgical processes to recover precious metals such as nickel, lithium, and cobalt. Partially powered by a 1MwH 2nd life Energy Storage System (ESS) that is fed by 350KwH of rooftop solar panels, it is the most sustainable battery recycling solution of its kind.
Ms Grace Fu, Singapore’s Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, officiated the facility’s opening this afternoon, together with Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment. Ms Fu was joined via video link by TES’s Chief Executive Officer Gary Steele, Chairman Terence Ng, and Navis Capital Senior Partner Jean-Christophe Marti. Senior government officials, including the National Environment Agency (NEA) and Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), industry partners, and clients were also present during the launch ceremony.
TES’s proprietary battery recycling technology closes the loop on the take-make-dispose model widely used in lithium battery manufacturing and disposal chains. The recovery rate of precious metals exceeds 90% and yields a purity level of almost 99%. Thus, the metals TES recovers from lithium batteries are commercially ready for fresh battery production. The plant achieves this success via the use of shredders and separation equipment that convert the batteries into black mass, followed by a chemical treatment process that extracts precious metals including lithium and cobalt.
These closed loop processes are environmentally friendly, as they do not release secondary contaminants like heavy metals or volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere.
TES B was named project of the year by the Singapore Business Review’s Technology Excellence Awards 2020 and was recognised by the Reuters Responsible Business Awards 2020 in the Sustainability Innovation Award category.
Gary Steele, TES’s CEO, said: “The opening of the TES B recycling facility in Singapore today marks one of the biggest milestones in our vision of becoming a global sustainability leader. Looking ahead, the battery space is potentially facing raw material commodity shortages stemming from the exponential proliferation of Internet of Things devices, electric vehicles, and mobility devices. These real-world challenges need real-world solutions. Working in close partnership with the EDB (Singapore Economic Development Board) and the NEA (National Environment Agency) has enabled TES to develop an innovative battery recycling solution that further cements Singapore as being at the centre of the future circular economy.”
Jean-Christophe Marti, Navis Capital’s Senior Partner, said: “As a majority shareholder since 2013, Navis is excited at the rapid growth of TES and will continue to support investments in sustainable innovations. Advanced Battery Recycling is at the heart of this strategy to develop a global sustainability leader.”
Mr Luke Goh, NEA’s CEO, said: “The TES B recycling facility is integral to the Extended Producer Responsibility Scheme’s ecosystem for the management of e-waste. The facility will help build up capacity for the recycling of lithium-ion batteries in Singapore and allow the recovery of precious materials, contributing towards the circular economy. Such facilities support Singapore’s move towards phasing out internal combustion engine vehicles in favour of cleaner vehicles, such as EVs, for better public health and to mitigate climate change. This will bring us closer to our goal of being a zero-waste nation.”
Mr Chng Kai Fong, Managing Director of the EDB, said: “We are proud that TES has chosen Singapore to site its first closed-loop battery recycling facility in the world, reflecting the company’s confidence in Singapore as a trusted location for business to capture opportunities in sustainability. As Singapore scales electric vehicle adoption and solar deployment, TES B and TES’s efforts in second-life energy storage systems will contribute to our battery recycling and energy management ecosystem, which will support Singapore’s sustainability agenda and create new and exciting job opportunities for Singapore.”
Besides bringing innovative recycling processes to Southeast Asia, TES also announced that it is working with strategic partners to introduce ESS offerings and scalable turnkey solutions using retired electric vehicle batteries for various commercial and residential energy needs in the secondary market. ESS uses a network of optimally connected, second-life battery cells to store electricity and is a viable power alternative for green energy plants, remote mining power, and base transmit stations, among other applications.