(photo courtesy of Retriev Technologies)

An Ohio-based battery recycling company is growing its footprint and a newly-formed partnership in Indiana is playing a major role. Retriev Technologies last fall merged with the Heritage Battery Recycling business of Indianapolis-based The Heritage Group, which it says created the largest lithium-ion battery recycler in North America. In March, the company acquired Battery Solutions in Michigan to establish North America’s first and only comprehensive battery management company.

Retriev Chief Executive Officer David Klanecky says the merger with Heritage complements the company’s services and helps address a growing need.

“If you look at batteries, there’s obviously a lot of recycling on different types of batteries today, but when you look at lithium-ion and electric vehicles, there’s going to be a massive opportunity there for a solution in the supply chain,” said Klanecky. “[Heritage has] a great safety record, a high level of focus on the health and environmental safety of the community and their employees. Those things all tie in really well with what’s needed in this industry and I think what the supply chain’s looking for.”

Klanecky says the addition of Battery Solutions to the company’s portfolio creates the first entity with a closed-loop supply chain for end-of-life battery recycling.

“[We can] collect, transport, sort and then process really every type of battery out there, whether it’s a lead battery, an alkaline battery, a lithium-ion battery, nickel cadmium, there’s still a lot of those batteries out there,” he said. “Battery Solutions has a sophisticated battery collection logistics network now that really perfectly complements what Retriev had on the processing side.”

He says the process can create recycled materials that can go back into the battery supply chain.

As the electric vehicle industry continues to increase the production of lithium-ion batteries, Klanecky says much of the material for the batteries will still need to be mined like it currently is, but the combination with Battery Solutions creates a new source for battery makers.

“This is something that quite honestly the industry has to do and I think will do is once we take things out of the ground, we should always continue to reuse them. This isn’t a petroleum product that turns into carbon and there’s little use after that; this is a product like a metal or a mineral that can be used over and over and over and over. To keep a domestic supply chain for the United States, that’s something that I think we really got to think long and hard about how do we maintain that supply within our borders.”

Klanecky says the company is continuing to look at partnerships, particularly in the technology space to build on Retriev’s platform for both battery processing and material upgrading.

Following the acquisition of Battery Solutions, Retriev employs some 150 throughout the U.S. and Canada. Klanecky says as the industry continues to grow, the company will look at building more assets and adding jobs to ensure a tight supply chain for materials.