Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Nth Cycle

Revolutionising metal refining with low-emission tech


Could this novel method help to create more sustainable and closed-loop metal supply chains?

Spotted: Mining and metal production are some of the most energy-intensive industries worldwide. Combined, they consume around 38 per cent of global industrial energy use and 11 per cent of energy use overall. Clearly, transitioning to net zero is going to require more sustainable metal refinement methods. This is where Nth Cycle comes in.

Nth Cycle uses an electro-extraction technology, rather than smelting, to make mineral refining more sustainable. Feedstocks, including black mass, primary ore concentrates, and waste streams are sourced from industrial scrap recyclers and refined into metal products for various applications, including magnets and motors for electric vehicles (EVs), turbines, and smartphones. The process is made possible with a small, modular refining system named the Oyster, which can be up and running in just a few months.

The Oyster combines electrochemistry, chemical precipitation, and filtration to process the metal-bearing feedstock. The system is efficient because it can tune to both the electrical current and pH at the same time, which allows the company to target and recover specific metals or groups of metals, producing both metal and metal salts for resale.

In December 2023, Nth Cycle closed a series B funding round worth $37 million (around €34.6 million) and raised an additional $7 million (around €6.5 million) in non-dilutive financing. The round was led by VoLo Earth Ventures, MassMutual, and Caterpillar Venture Capital.

Green technologies require a large amount of metals. As a result, Springwise has spotted a number of innovations in metal refining and extraction, including the reuse of more waste metal and cleaner metal recycling.

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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