Materials in lithium-ion batteries may be recycled for reuse

Read the full story from Washington University — St. Louis.

China expects to generate 2.5 billion end-of-life lithium-ion batteries from portable electronics such as smartphones and laptops in 2020, but very few are recycled. Although these batteries are discarded, the metals inside them are still valuable.

A team of researchers, led by Zhen (Jason) He at Washington University in St. Louis, is developing a method to recycle the batteries’ materials to reuse their valuable compounds. He, professor of energy, environmental and chemical engineering in the McKelvey School of Engineering, and colleagues at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China and at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University conducted a feasibility study for electrochemical “refilling” of lithium-ion batteries into the spent electrodes to regenerate useful compounds, such as lithium cobalt oxide.

Associated journal article: Lingen Zhang, Zhenming Xu, and Zhen He (2020). “Electrochemical Relithiation for Direct Regeneration of LiCoO2 Materials from Spent Lithium-Ion Battery Electrodes.” ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering 8(31), 11596-11605. https://doi.org/10.1021/acssuschemeng.0c02854

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