Li-Cycle Expanding In New York’s Finger Lakes Region

With help from Empire State Development's Excelsior Jobs Tax Credit Program, the Canadian sustainable technology company will create nearly 270 jobs at Eastman Business Park in Monroe County.

In an agreement with New York State, Li-Cycle will create nearly 270 jobs in Monroe County, part of the Finger Lakes Region, through the performance-based Excelsior Jobs Tax Credit Program. The Canadian lithium-ion battery resource recovery company will expand its U.S. operations through a new facility known as the Rochester Hub, currently being constructed on a 41-acre parcel of land formerly known as Eastman Business Park South.

In January 2020, Empire State Development (ESD) announced that Li-Cycle would establish its first U.S.-based facility in New York State in an effort to tap into the robust lithium-ion battery supply chain available nationwide. This latest project is in addition to Li-Cycle’s first U.S. Spoke facility currently operating within the business park, which has created more than 35 jobs. The latest project is expected to create up to 269 new jobs, and more than 1,000 jobs during construction. ESD has agreed to support the project with up to $13.5 million in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits in exchange for the job creation commitments. Monroe County and Greater Rochester Enterprise are also assisting with the project. Li-Cycle expects to start commissioning of the Rochester Hub facility in stages in 2023.

Li-Cycle has developed and validated a unique process that allows it to recover up to 95 percent of all materials found in lithium-ion batteries while maintaining minimal wastewater discharge and actualizing the company’s zero waste target. All materials that are recovered from lithium-ion batteries are either processed to the point of being reusable in battery production or for use in other applications.

Li-Cycle Finger Lakes
Rendering of the Li-Cycle project. (Source: New York State)

Li-Cycle’s “Spoke” and “Hub” operations will complement each other. Li-Cycle currently has several U.S.-based Spokes that process end-of life batteries and battery manufacturing scrap. The primary product of Li-Cycle’s Spokes is black mass, containing a number of highly valuable critical metals, including lithium, cobalt and nickel. Li-Cycle will convert the black mass into battery-grade materials at the “Hub” in an environmentally sustainable manner, using its proprietary technologies.

The “Spoke” operation is capable of shredding up to 5,000 tonnes per year of lithium-ion batteries. Ultimately, the “Hub” facility will receive the black mass from its spoke locations across the U.S. and process battery material that is equivalent to approximately 225,000 electric vehicles per year.

“We are excited to expand and grow our Spoke & Hub facilities in the Rochester area and thank the ESD for their strong support,” said Li-Cycle Co-founder and CEO Ajay Kochhar. “Li-Cycle’s first mover advantage puts it in excellent position to continue to scale and provide critical battery materials for automakers and manufacturers so they are able to meet domestic material sourcing requirements. Our patented and environmentally sustainable technologies are a proven and leading way to recycle lithium-ion batteries and will assist in accelerating the clean energy transition.”

“We are powering New York’s cleantech economy by supporting Li-Cycle’s expansion, which will not only increase our lithium-ion battery supply but also recharge our thriving energy storage industry,” said Governor Kathy Hochul. “With state support, Li-Cycle is bringing over 260 new jobs to the Finger Lakes region while supporting our state’s clean energy sector. My administration is committed to supporting projects that will continue to bolster our state’s economic growth and create a cleaner, more resilient future for all New Yorkers.”

Li-Cycle’s Rochester “Hub” project is part of the rebirth of Eastman Business Park, where more than 6,000 people work at 114 companies now operating within the park. Other efforts at EBP aimed at growing the sustainable energy ecosystem include the BEST Test and Commercialization Center, the Kodak Cell Assembly Center, and Plug Power. Companies located at EBP include DuPont, L3 Harris, and LiDestri Food & Drink.

“Our investment in Li-Cycle’s lithium-ion battery recycling facility at Eastman Business Park represents New York State’s continued commitment to companies that are innovating and creating economic opportunities in sustainable energy,” said ESD President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight. “This forward-thinking project will add high-quality jobs in the Finger Lakes region, further advancing our efforts to establish New York as a global leader in energy storage.”

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“Kodak is proud to be a part of the Li-Cycle Hub project, which reflects our commitment to battery and energy storage technology and sustainable processes,” said Kodak Executive Chairman and CEO Jim Continenza. “The Hub project will benefit from the vast resources of Eastman Business Park, including utilities, rail, security and facilities management services. The Rochester region will benefit from the jobs created by the project, both directly and indirectly. And our environment will benefit from the proprietary material recovery service provided by Li-Cycle.”

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