The electrification of the economy depends on reliable access to a collection of valuable but environmentally damaging metals, including lithium, cobalt, nickel, and manganese. We talk with Megan O’Conor, cofounder and CEO of Nth Cycle, a Beverly, Mass.-based startup poised to disrupt the metal recycling industry with an electro-extraction system that can operate in very small facilities spread all over the world. The Nth Cycle process can handle up to five tons of material each day in a very compact facility — only 1,000 square feet, about the half the size of the typical retail storefront. That means in theory that materials could be recycled near the source and reused locally, and with 3D printing maturing, the idea of a locally printed car or EV batter is a very real possibility.
The Nth Cycle technology may also help to extract more metal from ore and post-processing waste materials that have been discarded by mining and smelting companies. Nth Cycle recently took second place in TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield competition, a significant accomplishment, and has raised $4.5 million. You can learn more at nthcycle.com.