Blue Whale Materials commits to building a battery recycling facility in Bartlesville
A new economic development project is coming to Barttlesville. The battery recycling company Blue Whale Materials announced on Thursday it is committed to establishing a lithium battery recycling facility at Bartlesville Industrial Park.
Gov. Kevin Stitt, alongside Blue Whale’s CEO Robert Kang, called it a critical matter of national economic security in the U.S.
“For too many years, America has relied on maybe people that don't like us very much and we're relying on that supply chain,” Stitt said.
According to Stitt, China holds 60% of the global production of critical minerals for rechargeable batteries, 85% of the processing of those metals, 75% of the manufacturing of batteries.
The project comes at a time when the U.S. is seeking a domestic supply chain for materials used to make rechargeable batteries. According to Blue Whale, the demand for cobalt and other materials could increase 67% in the next four years.
As the U.S. moves away from fossil fuels and transitions into a green energy economy, Kang said battery recycling facilities will be necessary for batteries that will come offline in the next 5 to 7 years.
“The amounts of batteries that will come offline are astronomical. I really don't think we can fully realistically comprehend how many batteries will be coming and the need for recycling,” he said.
Oklahoma competed with Texas for this project. Kang said it was a no-brainer to develop a facility here due to low energy costs. The company said the battery recycling facility will take up 32 acres and provide 90 new jobs.
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