Hong Kong technology start-up GRST seeks to revolutionise electric-car battery manufacturing on sustainability and costs

Yeung is a seasoned investment banker and an independent non-executive director of Geely Automobile Holdings.

GRST is in talks with Europe and the USA

about licensing its technology to new battery factories they may build.

“In China, the big battery manufacturers are too busy keeping up with demand and are in no hurry to rebuild their production lines. So we’re focusing on the western markets, ”said Yeung.

The European Union has proposed a minimum content of recycled lithium in lithium-ion batteries of 4 percent by 2030, which should increase to 10 percent by 2035. The minimum for cobalt is 12 percent by 2030 and 20 percent by 2035.

Yeung believes that China, home to the world’s largest electric vehicle market, will also urge domestic electric car manufacturers to ensure that their batteries are fully recycled over the long term to avoid soil and water pollution from current disposal and recycling practices.

According to a report released by Fitch Solutions, global lithium consumption in the electric car sector could increase seven-fold in this decade.

The sector could account for 80 percent of total lithium demand by 2030, compared to 40 to 45 percent today, it said.

GRST’s water-based, patented manufacturing technology could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 40 percent in the production of lithium-ion batteries and by up to 80 percent in recycling.

The technology, which won a “Grand Prix” at the Geneva International Fair for Inventions in 2019, could reduce the investment costs of the production lines by 10 to 15 percent and their operating costs by 5 to 10 percent.

According to GRST, emissions from recycling could also be reduced by 50 to 80 percent compared to the prevailing methods that use acid or extreme heat to recover metals.

“The biggest advantage of our technology is that we can not only replace chemicals with water for the benefit of the environment, but also that we can achieve the same performance as conventional batteries in terms of energy density, charging speed and degradation rate,” he said CEO and Co-Founder Justin Hung Yuen.

The joint venture will license GRST’s technology for the facility in Jiashan District in northern Zhejiang Province, approximately 20 minutes by high-speed rail from Shanghai.

The facility, which will initially serve the electric bicycle, power tool and energy storage market before covering electric vehicles, is expected to have capacity of 0.5 gigawatt hours over the next year, 1 GWh in 2023 and 15 GWh in 2028.

The investors in GRST include the Finnish state-owned electricity and heat producer and the environmental services company Fortum, as well as Harry Lee, the chairman of the Hong Kong-based clothing manufacturer TAL Apparel.