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German-based cylib secures €55M to scale its next-gen lithium-ion battery recycling tech

cylib founders
Picture credits: cylib

Demand for battery recycling is soaring. With the rapid growth of EVs, global sales soared by 35% to almost 14 million in 2023 and are expected to reach 17 million in 2024. To ensure the move away from fossil fuels does not entail switching dependence on other scarce mineral resources, the recycling of minerals used in electric batteries must improve. 

According to Fraunhofer ISI, the volume of lithium-ion batteries to be recycled in Europe will reach 2.1 million tonnes by 2040. To keep up with the rising demand for battery materials and ensure resilient battery supply chains in Europe, locally available raw materials are instrumental. 

Largest round in European battery recycling

cylib, a sustainable battery recycling startup from Germany, has snapped €55 million in a Series A funding round. This is touted to be the largest round ever raised by a European battery recycling company. Co-led by the European climate tech VC World Fund, and Porsche Ventures (which backed Laka and Rimac Group) the venture arm of sports car manufacturer Porsche AG, the round was joined by Bosch Ventures, DeepTech & Climate Fonds, NRW.Venture, existing investors Vsquared Ventures, Speedinvest, 10x Founders, and established business angels. 

The company will use the funds to power the industrialisation of its proprietary technology, which is already used by leading OEMs and battery manufacturers, by scaling up its operations at an already-secured brownfield industrial facility in Germany. This round follows the €11.6 million investment raised last year.  

Eco-efficient recycling method

Founded in 2022 is a spin-off of RWTH Aachen University, Lilian Schwich, Paul Sabarny, Dr. Gideon Schwich, and their team, cylib has developed a new proprietary eco-efficient recycling method. 

cylib’s recycling process can extract all the materials from a lithium-ion battery with unprecedented efficiency and in an environmentally friendly way. Reusing emitted CO2 and eliminating the need for chemicals to recover lithium and graphite makes cylib’s approach the most efficient and sustainable on the planet.

After completing battery recycling projects for automotive OEMs, Tier 1 suppliers, and refineries, the company is now poised to take its innovative process to an industrial scale and become Europe’s primary battery recycler. 

Its locally-delivered, end-to-end battery recycling solution, the company can reduce the carbon footprint of the battery value chain, while helping to ensure the resilience of European EV supply chains. As per the company, it already outperforms long-awaited industry break-even points by reaching a recycling efficiency of over 90% while reducing the environmental footprint (GHG-potential) of the recycling process due to cylib’s water based Lithium and Graphite recovery by 30% in comparison to competitors.

Lilian Schwich, CEO of cylib, said: “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.” 

Danijel Višević, General Partner at World Fund, said: “cylib is a role model for the lightspeed industrialisation of world-leading climate tech research coming out of Europe. This company has created a market-leading, highly efficient battery recycling process that offers real climate gains, and which is already delivering for major clients – a huge feat for a business launched not even two years ago. This is the still missing piece of the emerging battery value chain for the decarbonisation of mobility and energy.”

Patrick Huke, Partner and Head of Porsche Ventures, said: “We at Porsche Ventures are thrilled to co-lead the Series A financing round of cylib together with climate tech VC World Fund. cylib is a perfect example of how leading scientific research can be commercialised at a rapid pace. We are excited to partner with the cylib team to industrialise their innovative end-to-end recycling process with the aim to drive the European Raw Material Ecosystem to become more sustainable and resilient. This fits perfectly to our sustainability ambitions and helps in striving for a decarbonised and circular supply chain.”

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