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China's largest LFP cathode producer to build new recycling plant

Hunan Yuneng New Energy Battery Materials, a listed cathode producer with BYD and CATL as shareholders, has established a subsidiary for recycling of LFP black mass. The company, Hunan Yuneng Recycling, will build a plant in the Xiangxiang Economic Development Zone in Hunan with a capacity to produce 20,000 tonnes of battery grade lithium carbonate. The infeed will be a mix of lithium sulphate solution, crude lithium carbonate and black mass from LFP batteries.

The total investment will be 512M RMB ($71M) and will cover buildings and equipment for leaching, evaporation and special buildings for each end product (lithium carbonate and iron phosphate).

The infeed capacity for the black mass will be 33,000 tonnes with an output of 7,000 tons of battery-grade lithium carbonate and 30,000 tons of iron phosphate.

In 2022 Hunan Yuneng produced a total of 337,200 tons of lithium iron phosphate material, a year-on-year increase of 174%.

The plant is only one of several new LFP projects in China. Over 30 new projects with a combined infeed capacity of 600,000 tonnes of black mass is currently in the pipeline. Besides Hunan Yuneng large scale projects have been initiated by Fanguyan, Jinpu Titanium, Shengua, GEM, Guanghua, Tinci Materials. The expansions adds to the current capacity of 150,000 tonnes. Most of the expansion comes together with a rapid build out of LFP cathode production.

Circular Energy Storage will, as a part of a larger udate of the global recycling capacity, publish a new analysis in July covering the rapid expansion of both material recovery and pre-processing in both China and the rest of the world.

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