Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have devised a method to identify the unique chemical makeup of every lithium-ion battery around the world, information that could accelerate recycling, recover critical materials and resolve a growing waste stream.
Similar to how plastics are stamped with a recycling code identifying their makeup, Li-ion batteries could be encoded with what ORNL researchers described as a Battery Identity Global Passport, which could be accessible as a scannable QR code or a computer chip. This method could help recyclers more efficiently locate in-demand materials and accommodate the wide variety of designs used to manufacture Li-ion batteries.
“This passport can help recyclers contend with the mixed stream of materials since there’s no standard cell chemistry now for Li-ion battery production,” said ORNL’s Ilias Belharouak. “The challenge is growing as we see more of these batteries used in electric vehicles, for energy storage and in electronic devices.”