To shred or not to shred: A comparative techno-economic assessment of lithium ion battery hydrometallurgical recycling retaining value and improving circularity in LIB supply chains
journal contributionposted on 2021-09-27, 16:00 authored by D Thompson, C Hyde, JM Hartley, AP Abbott, PA Anderson, GDJ Harper
Present techniques for recycling lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) tend to employ shredding as a preliminary step. This results in size reduction and passivation of reactive components. However, it also delivers lower purity products, decreasing process economics. We propose that disassembly followed by delamination retains product value and simplifies downstream chemistries. A retro-economic analysis shows the theoretical cost of reprocessing for a hypothetical $100 / kWh battery. Ten different hydrometallurgical approaches to LIB recycling are contrasted through techno-economic analysis of the wet part of the process. We show that shredded material can be recycled into new cathode material with a cost saving of up to 20%. Comparable processes using disassembled cells enable up to 80% cost saving (not accounting for the actual step of disassembling the cell). In the light of these results, we set out the barriers to disassembly of LIB cells, recommending the importance of design for disassembly as key to improving the circularity of LIB supply chains, ensuring that greater value is retained within the system.
The authors would like to thank the Faraday Institution (grant codes FIRG005 and FIRG006, Project website https://relib.org.uk) for funding.
CitationResources, Conservation and Recycling Volume 175, December 2021, 105741
Author affiliationSchool of Chemistry
- AM (Accepted Manuscript)