The use of lithium-ion batteries as energy storage in portable electronics and electric vehicles is increasing rapidly, which involves the consequent increase of battery waste. Hence, the development of reusing and recycling techniques is important to minimize the environmental impact of these residues and favor the circular economy goal. This paper presents experimental and modeling results for the hydrometallurgical treatment for recycling
cathodes from lithium-ion batteries. Previous experimental results for hydrometallurgical extraction showed that acidic leaching of
particles produced a non-stoichiometric extraction of lithium and cobalt. Furthermore, the maximum lithium extraction obtained experimentally seemed to be limited, reaching values of approximately 65–70%. In this paper, a physicochemical model is presented aiming to increase the understanding of the leaching process and the aforementioned limitations. The model describes the heterogeneous solid–liquid extraction mechanism and kinetics of
particles under a weakly reducing environment. The model presented here sets the basis for a more general theoretical framework that would describe the process under different acidic and reducing conditions. The model is validated with two sets of experiments at different conditions of acid concentration (0.1 and 2.5 M HCl) and solid to liquid ratio (5 and 50 g L−1
). The COMSOL Multiphysics program was used to adjust the parameters in the kinetic model with the experimental results.
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