Featured image: Luan Atkinson, CEO Renewable Metals. Image: New Energy Nexus.

Lithium battery recycling startup, Renewable Metals, has won the inaugural Supercharge Australia Innovation Challenge Award, with an innovative technology which turns battery waste into usable metals.

Renewable Metals took out the top prize at the awards event, hosted by Dan Ilic at EnergyLab, in Sydney. 

The winning recycling process achieves more than 95 per cent recovery of the valuable materials in lithium batteries, including lithium, nickel, cobalt, copper, manganese and graphite, without creating black mass and saving 20 to 30 per cent of the costs of standard recycling.

Despite producing almost 60 per cent of the world’s lithium, Australia retains less than 1 per cent of the USD$400 billion and rising annual product value. 98 per cent of the lithium mined in Australia is refined overseas.

Supercharge Australia aims to support lithium battery innovation in Australia and capture more of the lithium value chain by encouraging export-oriented lithium battery value chain start-ups.

Runners up for the award:

  • Second place – Sicona, with a University of Wollongong-developed technology to produce next-gen battery materials technology used in the anodes of lithium-ion batteries for electric-mobility and storage of renewable energy
  • Third place – Roev, with their conversion of large fleets of utes to electric, solving unmet demand and managing energy usage
  • Fourth place – Vaulta, who make recyclable and repairable high-performance batteries, which  are designed, assembled and tested at their manufacturing facility in Brisbane

Supercharge Australia is a project of New Energy Nexus in partnership with Australia’s largest climate tech start-up accelerator, EnergyLab.

Since 2016, New Energy Nexus has supported 5,268 entrepreneurs globally, created more than 6,000 green jobs and mobilised more than USD$1.5 billion in investments.

CEO of New Energy Nexus, Danny Kennedy, said, “Australian innovators are uniquely placed to supply emerging and mature global markets with low impact lithium products and resources to support our energy transition with better batteries.

“I’ve seen billion-dollar battery recycling start-ups in the United States emerging in the last few years and none have technology as exciting as this.”

EnergyLab has supported Australian start-ups focused on clean energy and climate tech since 2017, with more than 150 program alumni.

EnergyLab CEO, Megan Fisher, said, “Supercharge Australia helps ensure Australia’s energy security by supporting the development of the technology needed here for the renewable energy transition.

“Australia is well positioned to capture the full value of the battery and electrification revolution.

“Australia can become a leader in lithium battery technology, from sourcing to advanced battery and EV manufacturing, and capture massive market opportunities as the world electrifies. But to do this, we need much more activity across all phases of the lithium battery value chain, and this requires more investment and more start-ups to meet the innovation challenge.”

New Energy Nexus’ first follow-on philanthropic donor, Stephen Pfeiffer, generously pledged $300,000 in core funding to Supercharge Australia to charge up the next phase of work on Australian lithium value chain startups. This funding was announced at the awards event.

In the Supercharge Australia Innovation Challenge, eleven start-ups ranging from developers of novel cell chemistries to electric vehicle up-scalers and critical metals recyclers, were matched with mentors and experts with the aim of bolstering a vibrant national battery ecosystem.

Featured image: Luan Atkinson, CEO Renewable Metals. Image: New Energy Nexus.

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