Hyperdrive: Why the EV Industry is Talking About ‘Black Mass’ – by Annie Lee (Bloomberg News – August 28, 2023)


(Bloomberg) — The latest buzzword in battery materials sounds like a concept borrowed from astrophysics. But “black mass” is just a very literal description of the intermediate product from recycling either spent electric-vehicle batteries or scrap from battery plants. It’s a dark, powdery cocktail of metals such as lithium, cobalt and nickel that’s emerging as a commodity in its own right.

There’s growing interest in battery recycling as the global electric-vehicle industry expands, and as carmakers and Western governments aim to build supply chains that bypass China.

Mentions of black mass in company earnings have grown — including recent instances from commodities trader Glencore Plc and chemicals giant BASF SE. Three market researchers — Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, Fastmarkets and S&P Global — have launched regular price assessments of the material since April.

“There is definitely increasing interest from automakers in black mass now,” said Jesline Tang, analyst at S&P Global Commodity Insights.

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