A vital EV battery nickel product will be made in the US for the first time

Massachusetts metals refining company Nth Cycle is going to start producing mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP), a nickel product used in EV battery production, in the US for the first time – here’s why that matters.

In order for US-manufactured electric vehicles to qualify for the Inflation Reduction Act’s $7,500 tax credit, a proportion of the EV’s battery minerals must be extracted or processed in either the US or its free-trade partner countries.

Demand for MHP has skyrocketed as automakers ramp up production of electric vehicles. But most MHP has traditionally been produced in Indonesia, which isn’t a US free trade partner, so that supply is IRA ineligible. 

Further, MHP has traditionally been produced in Indonesia with low concentrations of the essential elements nickel and cobalt – 30-40% nickel and only 1-10% cobalt – and inconsistent levels of purity. However, Nth Cycle says it will produce an MHP product of over 90% of nickel-cobalt hydroxide.

Nth Cycle also asserts that its refining process will reduce emissions by more than 90% when compared to traditional mining processes. And unlike imported MHP, it will fulfill the domestic sourcing and recycled content compliance requirements of the Inflation Reduction Act.

The US-made MHP will be produced with OYSTER – the company’s commercial-scale electro-extraction unit – which came online in August 2022.

Megan O’Connor, cofounder and CEO of Nth Cycle, said:

We can economically and efficiently solve a key supply chain challenge for EV OEMs and battery manufacturers by offering MHP produced from our unique electro-extraction platform.

And as we continue to decarbonize the grid and electrify transportation, it’s more important than ever that our refining processes are environmentally sound and labor practices are safe. Our MHP product ensures both.

Nth Cycle plans to begin production of its MHP product later this year. It will be able to co-locate at customer sites, where it can source raw material and return the advanced material to the manufacturer.

Battery recycling is poised to play a major role in meeting as much as 35% of the auto industry’s nickel needs by 2040.

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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 michelle@9to5mac.com. Check out her personal blog.