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Michigan Tech and Eagle Mine tap federal grant for battery recycling project

The Biden Administration’s push to enable university-industry partnerships is coming to fruition at Michigan Technological University. MTU will be working with Eagle Mine, using more than $10 million allocated from a $74 million funding package from DARPA-E, earmarked to advance domestic battery recycling and reuse and build the domestic battery supply chain.

The university will work with Eagle Mine to advance new technologies aimed at developing sustainable processes for supplying critical minerals for battery manufacturing. The partners will also study CO2 mineralization opportunities in Eagle Mine’s tailings facility.

“Eagle Mine is proud to partner with Michigan Tech and support sustainable technologies that will create critical mineral pathways for future demand,” said Darby Stacey, Eagle Mine’s managing director. “Eagle Mine is the only nickel mine in the United States, and the availability of our experience and use of our resources, waste streams, and nickel concentrates are essential to understanding the societal impact of the nation’s transportation needs.”

The funding for the project, called “Nion Project,” will help MTU and Eagle Mine address several economic and technical challenges in the lithium-ion battery recycling industry. MTEC SmartZone (Houghton) and the Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC) also contributed towards the successful grant application. In collaboration with Michigan Tech, MTEC leveraged the MEDC’s Federal Match Program and Technology Transfer Talent Network (T3N) program by providing matching funds toward cost-shares required for the grant, as well as to recruit and hire an Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the project. MTEC was also helped spinout company Nion Metals LLC

This was a collaborative effort between Nion Metals, Michigan Tech’s Office of Innovation and Commercialization, MTEC SmartZone, and Eagle Mine,” said David Rowe, CEO of MTEC SmartZone. “MTEC SmartZone’s mission is to accelerate high-tech business growth, and this project is a prime example of that function.”

“This robust investment will support Michigan Tech’s researchers, faculty, and students’ continued efforts to develop and deploy the next generation of technologies to recycle electric vehicle batteries that will guide the future of the auto industry in Michigan and nationwide,” added MTU President Rick Koubek. “We thank our industry partners and Eagle Mine for supporting this research that will lead to new critical mineral technologies.”

“The State of Michigan is the home to the automotive industry, nickel mining industry, and future lithium-ion battery industry in this nation,” said Dr. Lei Pan, associate professor of chemical engineering at Michigan Tech and principal investigator (PI) of both funded projects. “Addressing both the supply of critical minerals and reprocessing and reuse of mine tailings is critical to advance sustainability in the mining industry.”

Source: Radio Results Network

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