Company:Electra Battery Materials

Electra launched a black mass trial late in 2022 at its Ontario refinery complex to recover critical minerals from black mass in shredded lithium-ion batteries and successfully operated this demonstration process throughout 2023 on a semi-continuous basis to maximize product recoveries.

BESTECH was selected by Electra Battery Materials to provide on-site mechanical, electrical, and structural engineering assistance for the design-build execution of the Black Mass Pilot/Demonstration Plant located in North Cobalt, Ontario.

The demonstration plant was designed to recover lithium carbonate, nickel hydroxide and cobalt hydroxide from processing 30 tons (dry) of black mass (recycled battery material) using a hydrometallurgical process (designed by others).

BESTECH’s scope of work consisted of the following:

  • Capital and operating cost estimate generation
  • Process flow diagram (PFD) development
  • GA and schematic generation
  • Scrubber exhaust fan selection and structural platform extension
  • Process piping specifications
  • Plant process piping/pump selection and layout
  • O2 system design
  • SO2 system P&ID generation
  • TSSA BPV design and equipment registration for O2 and SO2 systems
  • Tank heating systems
  • Autoclave cooling water systems
  • Screw conveyor design and selection for precipitating agents
  • Lithium concentration system – evaporator design
  • Fall arrest systems
  • Process instrumentation, controls, and automation assistance
  • Procurement facilitation for all items purchased
  • Warehouse inventory management
  • Contractor selection and construction supervision

BESTECH was retained to begin working on developing process flow diagrams, performing preliminary equipment selections and creating a capital cost estimate for the permanent Black Mass Refinement Plant. In addition to starting to work on the next phase, the team is still assisting Electra with the Black Mass pilot system, which is being finalized and commissioned.