BMW i Ventures leads investment into rare earth recycling
BMW’s investment arm BMW i Ventures announced an investment in Cyclic Materials, a Canadian company focused on recycling rare earth elements (REE). Regarding e-mobility, Cyclic Materials cooperates with Polestar to recover magnets for electric motors.
As for BMW i Ventures, the investor led the $27 million Series A funding alongside Energy Impact Partners (EIP). Fifth Wall, Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC), and existing investor Planetary Technologies also participated. Cyclic Materials wants to use the fresh capital to establish a hub and spoke network for its commercial-scale operations.
So far, Cyclic Materials has developed pilot plants, distributed REE samples to prospective clients, and secured supply chain agreements with internationally recognized companies.
One of these companies is Polestar which signed an MoU to collaborate in late 2022 to explore ways to recycle existing magnets efficiently. Instead of sourcing raw materials from mines for new drive units, the Swedish Geely brand wants to reclaim all rare earth metals from old motors. “Polestar approached us with a vision of using 100% recycled materials in its electric traction motors and ensuring that all its cars are recycled at the end of their life,” said Ahmad Ghahreman, CEO of Cyclic Materials. Sander Jahilo, Circularity Lead at Polestar, added that Cyclic Materials were “unique in that they are tapping into materials which have previously been overlooked in the recycling industry due to technical limitations.”
REEs are among the least recycled metals due to the difficulty of separating the various magnetic materials in end-of-life products. So, since its inception in 2021, Cyclic Materials has been creating recycling processes for REE and other metals like copper, aluminium, steel, cobalt, and nickel from a diverse supply of end-of-life products.
“REEs are critical for many applications from small electronics to large wind turbines but are very challenging to produce,” said Kasper Sage, Managing Director of BMW i Ventures. “The Cyclic team has developed a novel process that can create a sustainable, secondary supply source. We are excited for the company’s plan to scale this technology, helping secure the metals supply chain of the future.”
However, there is little information on the actual processes the company applies other than that it is “proprietary technology”.
Cyclic Materials is based in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.