Budding battery recycler Cylib raises 55 million euros

The battery recycling start-up Cylib, which was spun out of RWTH Aachen University, has completed a Series A financing round totalling 55 million euros. An initial pilot line in Aachen will soon be followed by a larger brownfield facility in Germany. The investors are well-known.

Image: Cylib

Cylib is a recycling specialist for lithium-ion batteries and claims to have already completed projects with European and Asian automotive and battery manufacturers on a pilot-line scale. As reported, Cyclib commissioned a pilot line in Aachen in September 2023. According to the company, up to 500 kilogrammes of batteries can be “fully recycled” there every day.

The capital now raised will be used to scale up production on an industrial scale and expand the interdisciplinary team. The financing round was led by World Fund and Porsche Ventures. Bosch Ventures, DeepTech & Climate Fonds, NRW.Venture and existing investors Vsquared Ventures, Speedinvest, 10x Founders and well-known business angels also participated in the round. Cylib speaks of “closing the largest financing round in European battery recycling to date” and emphasises that this was achieved less than 24 months after the company was founded. In addition: “Notably, Cylib’s funding round is the first venture co-investment from industrial giants Porsche and Bosch in Germany,” Cylib pointed out in its press release.

According to the startup, it has already acquired a brownfield industrial plant in Germany to expand production. In other words, it is converting an existing complex and not building a completely new one on a greenfield site. The recycling specialist does not specify where exactly. Instead, Lilian Schwich, CEO of Cylib, says: “The funding round we announced today will empower us to embark on our next phase of expansion and deepen existing collaborations, as we grow our next-generation battery recycling at an industrial scale. The past year-and-a-half has been a truly remarkable journey of growth, and we are immensely grateful for the trust of our partners and the successful projects we have conducted together. We look forward to offering our superior technology to even more customers and partners.”

The company sees itself on a fast track to industrialisation. It previously raised 11.6 million euros in a seed financing round, which enabled the aforementioned pilot plant in Aachen to go into operation in September 2023 and projects with car manufacturers, Tier 1 suppliers and refineries to be initiated. Cylib currently employs around 60 people, with further recruitment planned. The battery recycling process developed by Cylib is based on many years of research at RWTH Aachen University.

The battery recycling process developed by Cylib is based on many years of research at RWTH Aachen University. The approach of the process is to recover all elements contained in the batteries such as cobalt, nickel and copper, as well as lithium and graphite. Cylib continues to provide few details about the process, however. All that is known is that the company is aiming for a recycling efficiency of over 90 per cent, does not use any chemicals and intends to recycle the CO2 produced in the process. Compared to current hydrometallurgical processes, the Cylib method uses a water-based process to recover lithium and graphite, “which reduces the ecological footprint (GHG potential) by 30 per cent compared to competitors”, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, Bosch is not only investing in Cylib, but also in another recycling company called Li Industries. The US company is receiving the equivalent of 33 million euros in a financing round led by Bosch Ventures. “Li Industries is poised to tackle significant challenges in the Li-ion battery’s circular supply chain with innovative, scalable solutions. They are the first and only company in the US capable of economically and sustainably recycling low/no cobalt batteries, such as Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFPs), at scale using their unique Direct E2ETM recycling technology,” explains Ingo Ramesohl, Managing Director of Bosch Ventures.



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