Lithium-ion Battery (LIB) plays a significant role in our daily lives. Their usage is omnipresent in most rechargeable electronic devices, and they are also the most important energy storage systems for the rapidly growing electric mobility sector. The increasing demand for these batteries eventually results in the need for economically and ecologically sustainable recycling methods.
Currently, nickel and cobalt, copper and aluminum, as well as steel, are mainly recovered from battery waste for reuse. Recovering lithium is expensive, challenging, and hardly profitable.
Now, researchers at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have developed a novel recycling method that can recover up to 70% of lithium from battery waste without corrosive chemicals, high temperatures, and prior sorting of materials being required. The method combines mechanical processes with chemical reactions and enables inexpensive, energy-efficient, and environmentally compatible recycling of any type of lithium-ion battery.
It is developed by researchers from the Energy Storage Systems Department of KIT’s Institute for Applied Materials (IAM-ESS), the Helmholtz Institute Ulm for Electrochemical Energy Storage (HIU) established by KIT in cooperation with Ulm University, and EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG.
“The method can be applied for recovering lithium from cathode materials of various chemical compositions and, hence, for a large range of commercially available lithium-ion batteries,” says Dr. Oleksandr Dolotko of IAM-ESS and HIU, the first author of the publication. “It enables inexpensive, energy-efficient, and environmentally compatible recycling.”
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