Like other electric vehicles, electric material handling equipment needs powerful batteries to run at capacity shift after shift.
Most forklifts use a lithium-ion battery to do this. These can last for years…but they eventually wear out.
What do you do with a worn-out lithium forklift battery? Now, thanks to Ascend Elements of Massachusetts, you can recycle it!
In late March of 2023, Ascend Elements opened an EV battery recycling plant in Covington, Georgia. It can process 30,000 metric tons of material a year, breaking down old batteries and extracting their most valuable materials – lithium, nickel, manganese, and others.
The plant then processes those materials for use in new batteries. Right now, they sell it to other manufacturers for this, but they’re also building a facility in Kentucky to make cathodes from the materials themselves.
This plant is the first EV battery recycling facility in North America. It won’t be the last though! The article mentions 3 more facilities coming soon in the U.S. and Canada.
How does this benefit Heli forklifts and their owners?
- Many Heli forklifts are electric. The G Series includes forklifts from 3,000lb to 22,000lb capacity.
- They all use 80V lithium batteries. Which means the Ascend Elements plant can recycle all of them, once they wear out.
- More efficient use of rare earth materials.
- Much longer lifespan for electric forklifts, since they can use recycled batteries to replace worn-out original batteries.
- Clean-running forklifts! Great for sustainability.
We asked the Ascend Elements team what & how they accept batteries for processing. They said they’re now accepting lithium-ion batteries from most industries (automotive, construction, electronics, and material handling). They have no minimum battery count. Anyone can send them a lithium ion battery for recycling, so long as it meets their guidelines, is packed per DOT safety regulations, and arrives on a pallet at their Covington, Georgia facility.
We at Industrial Forklifts celebrate having such a valuable resource now. Everyone in the material handling industry should take notice.
As a final thought, let’s ask a question…what will you do with your lithium forklift batteries now?