The No Canary Process

No Canary’s Battery-to-Black Mass Technology ensures the energy-efficient recovery of raw materials from lithium-ion batteries. The batteries are crushed in a vacuum and a raw material concentrate called Black Mass is recovered. Black Mass contains lithium and graphite, and often nickel, cobalt, manganese, or even iron and titanium. The raw material concentrate Black Mass can subsequently be refined again into battery materials in hydrometallurgical processes. The No Canary process is very efficient, very safe and much cleaner than conventional e-waste recycling processes.

By physical stressing during pre-shredding, intensive drying and impact milling, which can be switched on as required, the electrode composites, consisting of the current-conductor foils (aluminum and copper) and the coating (Black Mass) are separated from each other. After separation of the heavy parts, a combination of pneumatic conveying, air jet sieving, cyclones and filters separate the Black Mass from the foil flakes in very high purity. The No Canary process can be used not only to recycle discarded lithium-ion batteries, but also to recycle scrap materials from the production of lithium-ion batteries.

Vacuum shredding increases throughput by significantly reducing drying time. No Canary is the only large-scale implementator of vacuum shredding.

The very high recycling efficiency and Black Mass purity of our process is achieved by particularly intensive stressing in No Canary’s patent-pending intensive drying process, which is combined with an air jet fine screening. The very high recycling efficiency and Black Mass purity of our process is achieved by particularly intensive stressing in No Canary’s patent-pending intensive drying process, which is combined with an air jet fine sieving.

Thus, recycling efficiencies of > 95 % for a lithium-ion battery cell and > 99 % for Black Mass can be achieved. Black Mass can be recovered with very low impurities of < 1,5 % copper and < 1,5 % aluminum and with a remaining moisture content of only 0.48 %.

The division of the process into the pre-module and product module allows the process to be set up in a decentralized manner. The independence of the No Canary process from thermal deactivation of the batteries enables a simple Plug-and-Play setup of the entire Battery-to-Black Mass plant.

Thanks to the Plug-and-Play approach, the recycling system that has already been commissioned at the No Canary plant in Salzgitter is delivered to the customer. This means that the process is reliably ready for operation within a very short time.

Our goal to provide our customers with the safest recycling process for lithium-ion batteries is realized as follows:

The No Canary Battery-to-Black Mass process recovers more materials than in older process variants for the recycling of lithium-ion batteries, which guarantees decisively higher revenues. In addition, energy and costs are saved by not having to carry out thermal deactivation. Inerting by using vacuum crushing saves nitrogen and thus energy.

> 95 %

Recycling Efficiency

> 99 %

Black Mass Recycling Efficiency

< 1,5 %

copper impurities in Black Mass

< 1,5 %

aluminum impurities in Black Mass

Remaining moisture (measured by TGA at 200°C)

0,48 %

Crushing at

5 mbar
20 times

lower underpressure than required for explosion protection

* Reference measurement with Panasonic NCA 21700 (TESLA Model 3) after drying for 30 min at 40°C with No Canary Technology. Feel free to test your own batteries in our facility!

To deactivate the batteries, electric vehicle batteries, battery modules or battery cells are deep discharged to zero Volt and short-circuited. Thus, the complete lithium migrates back into the cathodic active materials and the electrochemical potential is completely degraded. The battery is deactivated.

After deactivation of the batteries by deep discharging, the lithium-ion batteries can be dismantled from the battery system level to the battery module level or even to the cell level, if this is evaluated as economically reasonable. Here, recyclable fractions from the battery casing and the power and control electronics can already be recovered very well.

This optional dismantling is followed by the automatic processing of the batteries in No Canary’s Battery-to-Black Mass process.

The process is divided into two modules:

The pre-module separates the low-boiling organic solvents of the electrolyte from the batteries The intermediate products produced here are a dry shredded material and the recyclate of the electrolyte’s low-boiling organic solvents.

The product moduleseparates the dried shredded material from the batteries into a heavy fraction (consisting mainly of iron, copper, aluminum and plastic), into the so-called Black Mass (a raw material concentrate consisting of lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite and manganese), into metal foils (aluminum, copper) and into plastic foils.

After discharging, the lithium-ion batteries are fed to the vacuum crusher via an airlock, where they are crushed at pressures down to 5 mbar. An intensive dryer is connected to the vacuum shredder. The intensive dryer stresses the battery electrodes so intensively that the Black Mass separates from the current collector foils.

The low-boiling organic carbonates of the electrolyte are thereby evaporated and then recovered by re-condensation.

The dried shredded material is first separated from the heavy fraction by a zig-zag sifter. This fraction of 5 – 10 mm pieces (heavy parts: HP) of steel, plastic, aluminum and copper can later be further separated by magnetic separation and eddy current separation in the HP separation unit.

The light fraction is pneumatically conveyed onto an air jet sieve. The Black Mass (BM) is carried through the mesh by an air stream). Black Mass is separated from this air stream by a combination of cyclones and filters. The air is circulated.

The coarse fraction is again pneumatically conveyed to another zig-zag sifter. Here, the light separator foils consisting of plastics (Plastic foils: PF) and the heavier current collector foils (Metal foils: MF) made of aluminum and copper are separated from each other and recovered as products.

All pneumatic conveying circuits in the product module are closed, and no exhaust air is generated.