With the increasing demand for EV batteries, recycling them has become vital. However, most methods that we use for this purpose are not very efficient.
However, this might be about to change in the future. A recent study has been published1 by the Swedish Chalmers University of Technology.
This study puts forward an efficient recycling process. The method makes use of Thermal pretreatment and Hydrometallurgy.
New Findings Reveal The Requirements Of Lesser Temperature
While the previously practiced methods mostly use elevated temperatures, the above-mentioned study shows that the process can be easily carried out at room temperature.
This mitigates the need to increase the temperature and improves the efficiency of the recycling process.
The additional benefits of this are:
- Lower recycling cost;
- Relatively faster process;
- Higher recovery of valuable metals.
What Does The Study Tell Us?
The current methods use the following conditions:
– Temperatures around 60 to 80°C;
– Several hours.
However, the study proves that with the following conditions, the process can be effectively carried out:
– Room temperature;
– 30 minutes process.
The above-mentioned claims have been made by Burcak Ebin who is one of the article’s main authors.
The researchers also determined the impact of hydrometallurgy and thermal pretreatment on each other.
Approaches Of Thermal Pretreatment
Two approaches were used for this purpose, which were:
Another researcher named Martina Petranikova explained that these methods will be pivotal for the future of EV usage. The reason is that they make battery recycling more efficient.
M. Petranikova has worked at Northvolt in the past which has given her a complete idea about the battery manufacturing process & its dynamics.
Why Is Pretreatment Important?
As the usage of Li-ion batteries increases, so does the number of discarded batteries.
While degrading batteries can leach toxic chemicals. Recycling is an important step to prevent that, and also promote environmental protection and sustainability2.
Pretreatment is the first step in the recycling process to recover the critical minerals such as Cobalt, Lithium, Manganese, Nickel. These can later be reused in further battery manufacturing and other processes.
The results of these experiments will play a pivotal role in the future. The main reason behind this is that they have made it clear that the whole process can be carried out in much lesser time and at lower temperatures as compared to the in-vogue practices.
I believe that more research like this is needed in the field of battery recycling. They will open up new possibilities for the efficient use of Li-ion batteries.
- Petranikova M., Naharro P. L., Vieceli N., Lombardo G., Elbin B. Recovery of critical metals from EV batteries via thermal treatment and leaching with sulphuric acid at ambient temperature. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956053X21006188?via%3Dihub
- Dawei Yu D., Huang Z., Makuza B., Guo X., Tian Q. Pretreatment options for the recycling of spent lithium-ion batteries: A comprehensive review. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0892687521004477