Skip to main content

Efficient separation and coprecipitation for simplified cathode recycling

by Lu Yu, Yaocai Bai, Rachid Essehli, Anuj Bisht, Ilias Belharouak
Publication Type
Journal Name
Energy Storage Materials
Publication Date
Page Number

Hydrometallurgical recycling of spent lithium-ion batteries is among the most promising recovery approaches. The current hydrometallurgical method for battery recycling faces challenges such as complex separation and precipitation processes, and environmental concerns from the use of caustic inorganic acid and hazardous hydrogen peroxide. Our proposed modified method, namely polyol-metallurgy, uses citric acid in ethylene glycol as dual-function green solution to overcome these obstacles. This bifunctional solution leaches valuable metal ions from cathode materials (e.g., LiCoO2), and then acts as chelating agents to selectivxely precipitate cobalt through an esterification reaction, without the need for additional precipitation agents. The leaching efficiency of cobalt and lithium reaches 99.55 % and 97.65 %, respectively, and more than 96 % of cobalt could be directly self-precipitated and recovered. The unique characteristics of the dual-function solution also avoids impurities from Al foils and PVDF/carbon black films, enabling the simple separation process. Therefore, the process can be completed in one-pot system with efficient leaching, separation and coprecipitation, making it more efficient and feasible for operation than existing alternatives.