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Toray Industries Advances Lithium Recycling with Nanofiltration Technology

Enhanced nanofiltration technique poised to revolutionize lithium recovery, supporting global shift towards sustainable energy solutions
Japan
t 3402.TSE Mid and Small Cap 2000
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Toray Industries is pioneering a breakthrough in lithium-ion battery recycling, leveraging advanced nanofiltration (NF) technology. This innovation aims to extract over 80% of lithium from spent batteries, marking a significant step towards sustainable resource utilization and bolstering economic security as demand for electric vehicle materials escalates, Nikkei reported.

The company’s novel NF membrane, a polymer construct with ultrafine pores, is central to this technology. It efficiently segregates lithium from other battery constituents, a process initiated by heating the spent batteries to purge impurities, followed by an acidic solution treatment. Unlike traditional NF membranes, Toray’s version exhibits exceptional acid resistance, enhancing its longevity and efficiency in lithium extraction.

This technological leap is not just about recycling; it’s a strategic move in the face of intensifying global competition for critical minerals essential for the burgeoning electric vehicle market and other tech applications. The application of NF membranes, historically used in water purification, to lithium recovery is a pioneering endeavor by Toray, showcasing their commitment to innovative, environmentally friendly solutions.

By setting up a test facility in Shiga Prefecture, Toray is not just testing the technology’s efficacy but also fine-tuning the economic aspects of the process, aiming for commercialization by 2028. This initiative is part of a broader industry trend, with Japanese firms like JX Metals and Mitsubishi Materials also venturing into the domain of battery material recovery, underscoring the sector’s pivot towards sustainability and resource conservation in line with global environmental goals.

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