Here’s why this small battery recycling tech firm just got a $2M DOE grant

Nth Cycle, a Beverly, Massachusetts-based battery recycling tech firm, has been awarded a $2.15 million grant from the US Department of Energy.

The grant for Nth Cycle, a small company with around 26 employees, was awarded under the Battery Materials and Battery Manufacturing and Recycling Funding Opportunity (BMBMR) program of the Biden administration’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which became law in November 2021.

The grant is in conjunction with battery recycling firm Cirba Solutions in Charlotte, North Carolina. On December 15, Cirba Solutions announced that it had secured over $82 million from two recent Department of Energy grants from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Nth Cycle uses a technology that CEO and cofounder Megan O’Connor explained to Electrek in February:

We leverage the power of electro-extraction: clean and modular technology for reliably recovering critical minerals from e-waste and low-grade mine tailings using only electricity. Our electro extraction technology is clean, customizable, consistent, and mobile.

Electro-extraction is a cleaner, more efficient, and lower-cost alternative to the conventional dirty pyrometallurgy and hydrometallurgy processes currently used by battery recyclers and miners.

Nth Cycle produces a mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP) that contains nickel and cobalt. Production of MHP through laterite ore refining is growing in popularity as a precursor chemical for battery cathode manufacturers.

The company’s domestic supply of MHP meets compliance standards for EV tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act while reducing the carbon footprint of domestic refining.

O’Connor said in a statement today:

Recent legislation mandates the deployment of a compliant supply of critical minerals like nickel and cobalt that are mined, refined, or recycled locally. Unfortunately, there’s not enough compliant supply today to meet America’s increasing demand for electrification.

We expect Nth Cycle’s electro-extraction technology to be a pivotal solution in closing the resulting gap between supply and demand for domestic critical materials through cost-effective, efficient and environmentally conscious refining at home. The DOE’s BMBMR program will help us and others accelerate those efforts.

Electrek’s Take

This is not an enormous amount of money awarded by the DOE. But Nth Cycle is a small company that carries the big stick of really impactful technology, and its partnership with Cirba Solutions demonstrates that.

O’Connor also previously told us that, in theory, the number of times these materials can be recycled is unlimited. So US domestic battery recycling would prove to be a vital part of the electrification journey and would also reduce dependency on using the MHP supply that is refined in Indonesia by Chinese companies using an environmentally harmful process.

Photo: Nth Cycle

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.