A high recovery of lithium from recycled lithium ion batteries (LIBs) is essential to ensure the growth and sustainability of the electrical vehicle market. Without recycling, lithium demand is predicted to outstrip supply in 2023. Current industrial processes are focused on recovering cobalt and other valuable metals because, given lithium’s current low price, it is economically unfavorable to recover it. As part of our efforts to create a process where the recovery of lithium is economically viable we have analyzed the current industrial processes. We have determined that, when applied to recycling automotive LIBs, they are needlessly energy intensive and complicated. In these processes whole LIBs are incinerated, cryogenically cooled, or shredded under an inert atmosphere in order to make their cells safe to open. Instead of such extreme measures, LIBs can be disassembled by automated processes, which recovers valuable electronics for reuse, their cells can be discharged, which recovers residual energy, and then can be opened safely in air.
Alexandru Sonoc and Jack JeswietMechanical Engineering,Queens University, McLaughlin Hall, 130 Stuart Street, Kingston, ON. Canada
Vi Kie SooFEIT Australian National University, Australia
Copyright:© 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license