Princeton NuEnergy Inc., a clean technology startup based in New Jersey, launched its first pilot production line in McKinney on Oct. 25.

The company claims it is the first commercial lithium-ion battery direct recycling production line in America. A ribbon-cutting event for the company was held Oct. 25 at the Wistron GreenTech facility, located at 2101 Couch Drive, McKinney. The company partnered with Wistron GreenTech to launch the $3 million pilot production line and created 15 jobs in the process, according to company documents.

The modular pilot production line uses a patented low-temperature plasma-assisted process that recovers cathode and anode material from the recycled batteries, rather than outputting raw chemicals, Princeton NuEnergy representative Xuelan Wu said. The direct recycling process is a more environmentally friendly alternative to conventional battery recycling methods, such as pyrometallurgy and hydrometallurgy, which use heat and liquid acids respectively, Wu said.

The direct recycling production line will consume 73% less energy, use 69% less water, have a low carbon footprint and will have no harmful carbon dioxide emissions, according to documents from the company. The partnership will result in the recycling of 500 tons of batteries per year, Princeton NuEnergy CEO Chao Yan said in a presentation at the event. The company plans to focus on partnerships that will facilitate business-to-business battery recycling for companies that use electric vehicle and consumer electronic batteries, Wu said.

Princeton NuEnergy plans to expand into its own facility sometime next year and is considering the McKinney area as a candidate for this expansion, Wu said. The expansion would also include 62 locally hired positions, according to company documents.

The company has also begun to make connections in the local community, including registering an apprenticeship program through Workforce Solutions for North Central Texas. The company has also established a relationship with Collin College to facilitate job-related training and development for Princeton NuEnergy employees, according to company documents.

Brian Loughmiller, board chair of the McKinney Economic Development Corp., was in attendance at the ribbon-cutting event, along with Sen. Angela Paxton, R-McKinney, and representatives of various technology and automotive companies such as Dell, Honda, LG, Nissan and more, according to the presentation.

“One of our top priorities is new energy, clean energy and new technology. That [is the] type of product that we want to see in McKinney, Texas,” Loughmiller said.