Recapturing materials for reuse in batteries or other applications through chemical conversion.

Recycling processes that are not related to direct recycling are captured in this focus area. This includes technologies used as part of hydrometallurgical and pyrometallurgical recycling approaches. These methods are currently used by industry to recycled lithium-ion batteries and involve breaking down the materials inside of a battery by heating them to high temperature or dissolving in acid. After this, a mixture of valuable metals are recovered in either a solid or solution form. Being able to separate and purify the metals (e.g., lithium, cobalt, nickel, etc.) to a point where they can be accepted by the battery industry is critical. High efficiency will be necessary to create a profitable recycling structure while recovery of high purity materials is important for industry to accept recycled products. In addition, lithium, cobalt, and nickel are high-value materials that are defined as critical due to their limited supply or their geographical location. By recovering these materials, we will be securing a domestic source for them, therefore reducing our foreign dependence and increasing our national security.

Research in this focus area centers around two main themes:

  • Separation and Recovery of Critical Materials: Study methods to improve the extraction of critical materials from feed materials. Investigate materials (e.g., sorbents and membranes) and techniques for selectively separating metals present in solutions during recycling.
  • Synthesis of Cathodes Using Recycled Materials: Use recycled solutions or salts to produce cathode material. These materials will be compared to cathode synthesized using virgin materials and commercial materials to understand the impacts of using recycled feedstocks.

Learn more about the individual projects in these areas in ourĀ Quarterly Reports and Publications.

Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling

Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling

A schematic showing different recycling processes for lithium-ion batteries. (Image courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory.)


Focus Area Lead: Yaocai Bai (Oak Ridge National Lab)

Project Title

Graphite to Graphene

Argonne National Lab (Argonne)

Albert Lipson

Hydrometallurgical Recovery of Critical Metals Using Continuous Membrane Extraction

Argonne National Lab (Argonne)

Trevor Dzwiniel

Electrodialysis to Extract Lithium from Recycling Process Streams

Argonne National Lab (Argonne)

Jessica Durham Macholz

Electrometallurgical Extraction of Critical Battery Materials Using Molten Hydroxide Salts

Argonne National Lab (Argonne)

Timothy Lichtenstein

Ionic Liquid-Based Supported Membranes for Li/Co/Ni Separation

Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL)

Huimin Luo

Microwave Assisted Extraction of Metals

National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL)

Jaclyn Coyle

Photo-Controlled Recovery of Nickel, Cobalt, and Manganese

Argonne National Lab (Argonne)

Yana Karslyan

Separation and Recovery of Cathode Material Using Membrane Solvent Extraction

Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL)

Ramesh Bhave

Using Sorbents to Extract Critical Materials from Leachate Solutions

Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL)

Parans Paranthaman

Soft Chemistry Coprecipitation of Battery Precursors

Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL)

Ilias Belharouak

Synthesis and Performance Testing of Cathodes from Recycled Raw Materials

Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne)

Jessica Durham Macholz