Sustainable recycling technologies for lithium-ion batteries (2021)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameMaster of Engineering
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
The urgency to meet our climate obligations under the Paris Agreement has prompted a surge in the production and consumption of electric vehicles and with it, a growing waste- stream of end-of-life lithium-ion batteries. The environmental consequences of this growth are profound. Insofar as, the depletion of natural resources, and when lithium-ion batteries are incorrectly landfilled, pollution to groundwater and soil. Sustainable recycling technologies must be implemented to construct a cyclic-economy for the lithium-ion battery market and help alleviate the severity of these environmental consequences. Here we evaluate the opportunities in lithium-ion battery recycling and outline areas for future progress. Literature review found several methods of processing spent lithium-ion batteries to extract the metals within. However, current industrial recovery-methods involve high temperature pyrometallurgy, which emit toxic flue gases and produce poor-quality metal alloys. Hydrometallurgy techniques pose a viable alternative and were examined at lab-scale with the results used to conduct a preliminary design for commercial lithium-ion recycling in New Zealand. Second-use options, such as stationary storage to supplement grid power, were identified as feasible in extending the end-of-life of lithium-ion batteries. Therefore, the design and build of a 1.2 kWh proof-of-concept battery pack was achieved using spent 18650 cells.
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