Special Issue "New Science Based Concepts for Increased Efficiency in Battery Recycling"

A special issue of Metals (ISSN 2075-4701).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Bernd Friedrich
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
IME Process Metallurgy and Metal Recycling Department, RWTH Aachen University, Germany
Interests: process technology; metals; recycling; purification; alloying; WEEE; spent batteries; critical materials; circular economy
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There is no doubt that e-mobility will become a tremendous driving force for our future life. High demand for advanced materials in the batteries as well as political pressures in terms of collection and recycling rates raise the need for an extensive recovery of critical elements and a more sustainable use of raw materials. This Special Issue aims to make significant progress in designing innovative processes and understanding related mechanisms in the context of battery recycling. Although we expect the majority of papers to address the latest scientific achievements in the area of lithium-based systems, the entire range from lead, to nickel–metal–hydride, to high-temperature vanadium sodium cells is covered by this compilation. Of special interest are concepts for future post-Li-systems including all solid-state cell designs. We are not focusing on consumer behavior, collection, legal, and regulation issues and market development. Papers dealing with automized disassambly/dismantling, sensor-based sorting, new concepts for comminution and classification, thermal conditioning, innovations in hydro- and pyrometallurgical processing, safety aspects regarding recycling processes, post-mortem analysis with regards to cell chemistry changes, as well as mass flow analysis and optimization models for recycling efficiency are welcome.

The idea of a circular economy is the point of origin for contributions, aiming at minimizing of waste streams and promoting re-use/recirculation of components, functional materials as well as elements. In order to minimize material losses and energy consumption, this Issue explores concepts for optimization concerning the interfaces between mechanical and thermal pre-treatments with metallurgical processes. Considering both principle aspects of circular economy and material design, the topics of special interest are those concerning recovery and re-use of critical metals like lithium, since their importance for technological applications often goes along with a lack of supply on the world market.

Prof. Dr. Bernd Friedrich
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Metals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • battery recycling
  • resource efficiency
  • circular economy
  • recovery
  • critical metals
  • waste minimization

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Disassembly of Li Ion Cells—Characterization and Safety Considerations of a Recycling Scheme
Metals 2020, 10(6), 773; https://doi.org/10.3390/met10060773 - 09 Jun 2020
Abstract
It is predicted there will be a rapid increase in the number of lithium ion batteries reaching end of life. However, recently only 5% of lithium ion batteries (LIBs) were recycled in the European Union. This paper explores why and how this can [...] Read more.
It is predicted there will be a rapid increase in the number of lithium ion batteries reaching end of life. However, recently only 5% of lithium ion batteries (LIBs) were recycled in the European Union. This paper explores why and how this can be improved by controlled dismantling, characterization and recycling. Currently, the favored disposal route for batteries is shredding of complete systems and then separation of individual fractions. This can be effective for the partial recovery of some materials, producing impure, mixed or contaminated waste streams. For an effective circular economy it would be beneficial to produce greater purity waste streams and be able to re-use (as well as recycle) some components; thus, a dismantling system could have advantages over shredding. This paper presents an alternative complete system disassembly process route for lithium ion batteries and examines the various processes required to enable material or component recovery. A schematic is presented of the entire process for all material components along with a materials recovery assay. Health and safety considerations and options for each stage of the process are also reported. This is with an aim of encouraging future battery dismantling operations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Integrating Flotation and Pyrometallurgy for Recovering Graphite and Valuable Metals from Battery Scrap
Metals 2020, 10(5), 680; https://doi.org/10.3390/met10050680 - 21 May 2020
Abstract
Since the current volumes of collected end-of-life lithium ion batteries (LIBs) are low, one option to increase the feasibility of their recycling is to feed them to existing metals production processes. This work presents a novel approach to integrate froth flotation as a [...] Read more.
Since the current volumes of collected end-of-life lithium ion batteries (LIBs) are low, one option to increase the feasibility of their recycling is to feed them to existing metals production processes. This work presents a novel approach to integrate froth flotation as a mechanical treatment to optimize the recovery of valuable metals from LIB scrap and minimize their loss in the nickel slag cleaning process. Additionally, the conventional reducing agent in slag cleaning, namely coke, is replaced with graphite contained in the LIB waste flotation products. Using proper conditioning procedures, froth flotation was able to recover up to 81.3% Co in active materials from a Cu-Al rich feed stream. A selected froth product was used as feed for nickel slag cleaning process, and the recovery of metals from a slag (80%)–froth fraction (20%) mixture was investigated in an inert atmosphere at 1350 °C and 1400 °C at varying reduction times. The experimental conditions in combination with the graphite allowed for a very rapid reduction. After 5 min reduction time, the valuable metals Co, Ni, and Cu were found to be distributed to the iron rich metal alloy, while the remaining fraction of Mn and Al present in the froth fraction was deported in the slag. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Cleaner Recycling of Spent Lead-Acid Battery Paste and Co-Treatment of Pyrite Cinder via a Reductive Sulfur-Fixing Method for Valuable Metal Recovery and Sulfur Conservation
Metals 2019, 9(8), 911; https://doi.org/10.3390/met9080911 - 20 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
This study proposes a cleaner lead-acid battery (LAB) paste and pyrite cinder (PyC) recycling method without excessive generation of SO2. PyCs were employed as sulfur-fixing reagents to conserve sulfur as condensed sulfides, which prevented SO2 emissions. In this work, the [...] Read more.
This study proposes a cleaner lead-acid battery (LAB) paste and pyrite cinder (PyC) recycling method without excessive generation of SO2. PyCs were employed as sulfur-fixing reagents to conserve sulfur as condensed sulfides, which prevented SO2 emissions. In this work, the phase transformation mechanisms in a PbSO4-Na2CO3-Fe3O4-C reaction system were studied in detail. Furthermore, the co-treatment of spent LAB and PyCs was conducted to determine the optimal recycling conditions and to detect the influences of different processing parameters on lead recovery and sulfur fixation. In addition, a bench-scale experiment was carried out to confirm the feasibility and reliability of this novel process. The results reveal that the products were separated into three distinct layers: slag, ferrous matte, and crude lead. 98.3% of lead and 99% of silver in the feed materials were directly enriched in crude lead. Crude lead with purity of more than 98 wt.% (weight percent) was obtained by a one-step extraction. Lead contents in the produced matte and slag were below 2.7 wt.% and 0.6 wt.%, respectively. At the same time, 99.2% total sulfur was fixed and recovered. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Recycling Chain for Spent Lithium-Ion Batteries
Metals 2020, 10(3), 316; https://doi.org/10.3390/met10030316 - 28 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The recycling of spent lithium-ion batteries (LIB) is becoming increasingly important with regard to environmental, economic, geostrategic, and health aspects due to the increasing amount of LIB produced, introduced into the market, and being spent in the following years. The recycling itself becomes [...] Read more.
The recycling of spent lithium-ion batteries (LIB) is becoming increasingly important with regard to environmental, economic, geostrategic, and health aspects due to the increasing amount of LIB produced, introduced into the market, and being spent in the following years. The recycling itself becomes a challenge to face on one hand the special aspects of LIB-technology and on the other hand to reply to the idea of circular economy. In this paper, we analyze the different recycling concepts for spent LIBs and categorize them according to state-of-the-art schemes of waste treatment technology. Therefore, we structure the different processes into process stages and unit processes. Several recycling technologies are treating spent lithium-ion batteries worldwide focusing on one or several process stages or unit processes. Full article
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