Repurposed fluorine also will reduce the cost and increase the sustainability of battery production since its production process waste stream is toxic and requires expensive treatment.

A low-energy and low-cost separation system that selectively recovers electrode materials, such as graphite, has not yet been established. The collaboration will develop new methods to recover graphite found in battery anodes and the fluorine found in electrolyte salts. This will increase the viability of lithium-ion recycling by giving manufacturers additional recycled materials to sell for use in batteries and other products.

Key tasks planned are:

  • Create an economical industrial process for separating anode and cathode powders contained in the battery black mass. Currently, anode powders are disposed of, but if recyclability can be improved they can be repurposed for new batteries.
  • Develop and demonstrate a cost-effective processes to recover electrolyte salts and evaluate their purity and usefulness in recovered products.

Each recovery method will undergo a techno-economic analysis to determine commerciality. Argonne’s EverBatt software model will be used to compare estimated energy use, emissions, and costs. The most promising technology will be demonstrated in a pilot scale in the Battery Recycling Process Development and Demonstration Facility.