Ara, a private equity firm that specializes in industrial decarbonization investments, today announced that is has partnered with Blue Whale Materials (BWM) to build a leading lithium-ion battery (LIB) recycling platform. Together, Ara and the BWM management team will build at least five LIB recycling plants across the US and Europe to address the growing demand for the critical materials required to support electrification and decarbonization. BWM’s proprietary technology recycles LIBs to recover cobalt, nickel, manganese, lithium, and other valuable elements that can be reused to manufacture lithium-ion batteries or in other applications. The proliferation of electric vehicles and electrification is driving increased demand for LIBs; however, supply is constrained as most metals needed for LIBs are mined and processed in countries that present geopolitical, environmental, and ethical challenges.
BWM’s co-founders Robert Kang, David Fauvre and Justin Oh have been working together in various capacities for over a decade. BWM validated its technology at a commercial scale plant in Asia and will leverage its capabilities to expand into the Western Hemisphere. BWM is well positioned for growth with established feedstock relationships, strong ties to all major electric vehicle battery OEMs, and significant offtake interest.
“There is an urgent need for an ethical, circular solution to the growing demand for critical battery materials and the mounting supply of hazardous LIBs,” said Robert Kang, BWM’s CEO. “We are proud to partner with Ara, which passionately supports our mission and has a wealth of experience in scaling manufacturing operations and building sustainable businesses.”
“The BWM team has the operational and technical experience, strategic relationships and motivation to build a leading LIB recycling platform in North America and Europe,” said Tuan Tran, a Partner at Ara Partners. “BWM’s recycling process could enable better than 75% carbon emissions reduction compared to battery production with newly mined materials. We are thrilled to partner with Robert, David, Justin and their team.”
Blue Whale Materials was advised on the transaction with Ara Partners by Gary Ladrido of GT Securities, Inc.