• Recycled critical materials put battery supply chains in US hands

  • Reducing the cost of electric vehicle (EV) battery packs could accelerate EV adoption

  • Recycled components decrease the cost of electric vehicle batteries

  • Novel cell designs could make recycling cheaper, cleaner

A surge of lithium-ion batteries is headed for US recyclers

The use of lithium-ion batteries has surged in recent years, starting with electronics and expanding into many applications, including the growing electric and hybrid vehicle industry. But the technologies to optimize recycling of these batteries has not kept pace.

The launch of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) first lithium-ion battery recycling center, called the ReCell Center, will help the United States grow a globally competitive recycling industry and reduce our reliance on foreign sources of battery materials.

The DOE sees an opportunity to de-risk the recycling of lithium-ion batteries and future battery chemistries to help accelerate the growth of a profitable recycling market for spent EV and electronics batteries.  This can be done by developing novel recycling techniques that will make lithium-ion recycling cost-effective by using less energy-intensive processing methods and capturing more metals and other high-value materials in forms that make reuse easier.

Accelerating and advancing industry adoption of EV battery recycling will help meet VTO goals of pushing down the cost of EV battery packs for consumers and increasing the use of domestic recycled sources of battery materials.

These recycled materials can be recycled for use in new batteries, helping to drive down the overall production cost of electric vehicle batteries to the national goal of $80/kWh.

A collaboration of researchers from industry, academia and national laboratories will test new recycling techniques at their home institutions and at Argonne National Laboratory in order to develop new battery designs that will enable greater material recovery at end of life. The most promising new recycling processes and battery designs will be demonstrated at pilot scale at the ReCell Center based at Argonne. Validated processes and designs will be licensed to industry for further commercialization.

The center collaborators also will use existing modeling and analysis tools to help industry determine how to optimize value.  Argonne’s EverBatt model evaluates the techno-economic and environmental impacts of each stage of a battery’s life, including recycling.  NREL’s supply chain analysis tool  provides a birds-eye view of the interconnections between raw material availability, primary manufacture, recycling, and demand.

Turning Waste into Savings

  • Manufacturing costs are 5 to 30 percent less using recycled cathode material.
  • By decreasing material costs, recycling will help reduce electric vehicle battery pack cost to the DOE goal of $80/kWh.
  • New separation techniques can recover more material for use in reconstituted batteries.
  • Recycled lithium and cobalt provides a reliable supply chain to US manufactures, reducing reliance on foreign supplies of critical materials

Learn how ReCell can help your company meet its goals.

 

 

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Facilities

Tackling the world’s most pressing and complex science problems, requires the world’s leading research tools. The ReCell Center will leverage a unique suite of state-of-the art research facilities at DOE national laboratories to drive advances in battery life-cycle development and recycling. These facilities provide access to top-tier experts from across the globe as well as, often, one-of-a-kind tools for scale up, prototyping, validation, testing, characterization, modeling and analysis.

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Collaborations

Optimizing lithium-ion battery recycling in a cost-effective manner presents several challenges that can only be overcome by leveraging the unique assets of national laboratories, universities and industry.

The ReCell Center includes a core collaboration of three national laboratories and three universities, all with a long history of successful battery research and development. A suite of industry partners will bring expertise from all points along the battery supply chain, including battery manufacturers, automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), recycling centers, battery lifecycle management services and material suppliers.

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Research

Recycling of lithium-ion batteries has failed to materialize into a sustainable, profitable market as occurred with the recycling of lead-acid batteries, which are used for different applications. This is because lithium-ion batteries have a larger variety of materials and chemistries, many still evolving, and more complex structures. The R&D done at the center aims to reduce the risk-to-reward ratio industry faces in expanding lithium-ion recycling programs.

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