Why we invested in Nth Cycle
Mining & battery recycling is becoming a massive pain point. Also we have been dependent on other countries for too long, for the extraction of high value metals for the supply of key materials for the growth of the US economy. For me personally, there is way too much focus on batteries with minimal focus on rare earth metals, new battery chemistries, with China dominating the supply chain.
The founder, Megan, is super impressive, a chemist with >8 years of experience developing carbon nanotube membrane separation technologies. She has received multiple accolades both for her academic contributions and for her entrepreneurial success through her inclusion in multiple competitive programs and Forbes’ 30 under 30 in Energy 2019. She successfully created a unique technology based on the use of electricity to reduce dependence on greenhouse gas-emitting furnaces or harsh chemicals for metals recovery.
Nth Cycle provides a climate friendly solution for metals recovery and recycling. Their technology has a cost effective solution, for the extraction of key metals from lower grade ores in mines. Rather than using large, greenhouse gas-emitting furnaces or harsh chemicals, this technology uses only electricity. It transforms the outputs of electronics recycling, and waste from existing mines, into high- quality critical minerals ready for re use. Their tech is energy efficient for battery recycling and is modular. We believe this innovation will enable increased circularity for electric vehicles and battery supply chains, and it will improve extraction efficiency at mines via cost- efficient separation of metals prior to transport. More importantly, this tech reduces the dependance on China, by the application of their technology in mining of high value metals. In the last year or so, they have scaled their device >100x, are ready to start large pilots for mining applications in partnership with key mining companies.
As they scale up their focus in mining processes, they will commercialize their technology first with the Li ion battery market. The key here is “ Black Mass”. Black Mass is what one gets once a battery has been processed for recycling. Batteries are composed of metals including lithium, manganese, cobalt, and nickel. Once a battery reaches the end of its service life, it is collected, dismantled, and shredded. The shredded material is then processed to produce “black mass”, which contains high amounts of these metals. These critical materials can then be extracted from the black mass and re-used in new battery production or in new products and/or applications.
Total addressable market (“TAM”) is the global markets for battery recycling, cobalt mining, and magnet recycling. Battery recycling 2025 and 2030 TAMs are estimated at $2.4B and $7.3B. Cobalt mining 2025 and 2030 TAMs are estimated at $8.5B and $10B, respectively. And magnet recycling 2025 and 2030 TAMs are estimated at $258M and $774M, respectively. Aggregate 2025 and 2030 TAMs for Nth Cycle are $11.2B and $18.1B, respectively.
So the industry soon has to decide if refineries and recyclers view Nth Cycle as enablers or competitors?