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Scalable Direct Recycling of Cathode Black Mass from Spent Lithium-Ion Batteries

First published: 23 December 2022

Citations: 7

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End of life (EoL) lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) are piling up at an intimidating rate, which is alarming for environmental health. With further expected rapid growth of LIB use, the magnitude of spent battery accumulation is also expected to grow. LiNixCoyMnzO2 (NCM) cathode materials are a dominant chemistry in high energy LIBs, and make up a huge portion of this waste accumulation. Direct recycling is one of the most promising ways to turn this waste to wealth, but has been limited to lab-scale, due to lack of robustness, namely the tedious pretreatment required that involves toxic organic solvents. Herein, a process that integrates the pretreatment and relithiation of the cathode black mass is demonstrated. Cathode material from EoL electric vehicle (EV) batteries is treated in a 100 g per batch operation and the regenerated cathode active material demonstrates 100% electrochemical performance recovery, with 91% yield rate, and shows promise for further scale up. This process has the advantages of integration, scalability, and universality, which clears the barricade for direct recycling to move from lab to industry scale with considerable profitability.

Conflict of Interest

A patent was filed for this work through the UCSD Office of Innovation and Commercialization.

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