Success Stories

Kingston FUSE Partnership: The right ingredients for success

When Mississauga-based battery recycling company Li-Cycle™ needed help to avoid what industry experts call “the valley of death”, their journey led them to Kingston.

“We needed to iterate our product fast, as it takes a lot of time and resources to go from ideation to commercialization,” says Ajay Kochhar, the company’s president/CEO and one of its co-founders. “The FUSE partnership has saved us years.”

Lithium ion batteries are a Nobel Prize-worthy innovation, but what do you do with them once they stop holding a charge? That’s the foundation of Li-Cycle’s business – recycling spent lithium ion batteries and recovers their materials for reuse in battery production. This work requires the right combination of facilities, permits, process development support, and employees to handle this sensitive work. Only slightly over two years from founding, Li-Cycle now has, located at KPM’s pilot plant in Kingston, the most advanced Li-ion battery recycling project in North America.

FUSE, a partnership between GreenCentre Canada, Kingston Process Metallurgy, and the city of Kingston provides incubated companies support for commercialization of chemical processes. This allows the company to slowly scale up its staff while accessing chemical processing professionals and infrastructure to build and run their pilot and demonstration plants. This leaves the company founders the opportunity to promote and develop the business while the technical scale up is in secure hands.

GreenCentre Canada is a Kingston-based not-for-profit focused on helping early stage sustainable chemistry and materials companies get through their challenging early development stages. Meanwhile, Kingston Process Metallurgy focuses on assisting companies develop, scale-up and improve their manufacturing processes.

“With FUSE, we’re able to attract and support these newly hatched businesses who need chemistry, design, and process support so that they can ultimately develop and grow their business through attraction of investment and talent.” says Dr. Brian Mariampillai, Director of Business Development for GreenCentre Canada.

“The concentration of chemical process development expertise and facilities in our area rivals the top centres in the world,” adds Boyd Davis, principal of Kingston Process Metallurgy. “We feel our collaboration with GreenCentre and our combined infrastructure, knowledge, and experience is a unique offering that will help companies in a very meaningful way to quickly get to where they want to be.”

The Kingston Economic Development Corporation, Dupont Research and Development Centre, and other organizations have since added their support for FUSE to help attract Chemtech companies to Kingston and communicate the strength of services and talent in the region.

“Chemistry touches so much of the products and problems we encounter every day – from food, to pharmaceuticals, to climate change,” says Andrew Bacchus, Business Development Officer for Emerging Sectors with Kingston Economic Development. “Through FUSE, we hope to show the world that Kingston can accelerate companies that are solving real problems.”

Li-Cycle was recently named a 2020 Global Cleantech 100 company by the Cleantech Group.

To learn more about FUSE, contact: [email protected]