There is a new method to recycle lithium batteries without them going through any melting or crushing. This new method has also been reported to save time. Researchers found out the electrodes in lithium batteries that contain Cobalt can be recycled through a new method.
When this method is compared to the traditional method of recycling batteries, it saves energy and raw materials. The new method saturates the electrons with the lithuim while the traditional method gets metals from batteries by melting and crushing them.
The increase in the use of smartphones, portable devices, and electric cars has resulted in about 25% increase in the production of rechargable batteries across the globe every year. Very soon, materials like Cobalt may have low supply. The European Commission will soon make a battery decree that would require that 95% of the cobalt present in batteries be recycled. Unfortunately, the battery recycling methods available aren’t perfect.
In the traditional methods of recycling batteries, some of the raw materials present in the batteries are lost and as such, lithium cobalt oxide becomes other cobalt compounds. This requires a long chemical refinement procedure to transform them into electrode material.
This doesn’t require such long processed as scientists sidesteps it by bringing back the used lithium in the electrode via an electrolysis process. This process that is mostly used in industry ensures that the cobalt compound can be reused directly.
By reusing the structures of batteries we can avoid a lot of the labour that is common in recycling and potentially save energy at the same time. We believe that the method could help companies that are developing industrial recycling.Tanja Kallio, a professor at Aalto University