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Bio-based Materials

Bio-based Materials

Circular materials (Q3 2023): Battery recycling at an inflection point, supercharged for commercial adoption

This Insight covers quarterly updates on circular materials including bio-based and recycled materials. Bio-based materials encompass those derived from natural sources, such as plants and mycelium, offering sustainable and biodegradable alternatives. Recycled materials involve creating value-added products by processing waste streams, including plastic, textiles, and electronic waste, through recycling methods. Companies featured in this Insight are covered in our Bio-based Materials hub and selected segments from our Waste Recovery and Management Tech hub, which includes Recycled Materials.

Key takeaways

  • Funding 
    • Highest-funded quarter in three years, led by strong VC interest in battery recycling: Circular materials startups raised USD 3.7 billion across 19 rounds in Q3 2023. This was led by the giga funding rounds of two battery recycling startups, Northvolt (USD 1.2 billion) and Redwood Materials (USD 1 billion), while the e-waste segment accounted for >70% of the total funds raised. The average round size (USD 193.1 million) was 3.3x higher than the average for the past 10 quarters. There was also a notable decline in seed- and early-stage funding (~25% of total rounds vs. ~47% on average for the past 10 quarters).
  • Product updates
    • Battery recycling startups commence commercial operations: Most product updates centered around battery recycling, with players gearing up for commercial-scale operations by the end of 2023 or early next year. Electra announced its first customer shipment of recycled battery materials, while Li-Cycleannounced commencing commercial operations at its Germany-based spoke. Additionally, bioplastic companies such as Melodea and Xampla introduced new food packaging solutions.

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