Browse Publications Technical Papers 2022-36-0072


The electrification of the vehicle fleet has as a direct implication the disposal of lithium-ion batteries. It is noteworthy that such batteries need a suitable destination at the end of their useful life, since they are composed of chemical elements with high added value (such as nickel, cobalt, copper, and lithium) and that cannot be discarded in nature, a since they can generate environmental damage to the ecosystem and to the health of the population. Therefore, the development of effective processes for recycling these batteries is key to the economic and environmental sustainability of vehicle electrification. By recovering critical materials, robust recycling systems reduce raw material demand, greenhouse gas emissions and the environmental impacts associated with mining and refining activities. Within this context, hydrometallurgy has emerged as a promising process for battery recycling, presenting high efficiency, lower processing temperature, generating lower carbon emissions and lower energy consumption. The technique also has a high recovery rate for nickel, cobalt, copper, aluminium, graphite, manganese, iron phosphate and especially lithium, which cannot be recovered by current pyrometallurgy techniques. In this scenario, the present work aims to address economic, environmental and performance aspects of recycled materials, to minimize the emission of waste in nature and generate a flexible process for recycling lithium-ion batteries by hydrometallurgical route. This process will be able to process batteries of different chemistry and geometries in the same recycling batch. In the present work, different types of batteries were characterized, and the physical separation and leaching process recovered more than 90% of the minerals of interest (Ni, Co, Li, Mn, Cu and Al). More details about the project will be explored throughout the article.


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