Lithium-ion battery recycling and reuse

Time:2024-06-05

Introduction to Lithium Ion

Lithium Ion Battery (LIB) is a type of secondary battery (rechargeable battery) that operates primarily on the movement of lithium ions (Li⁺) between the positive and negative electrodes. Lithium ion batteries are widely used in electric vehicles, power tools, drones, consumer electronics, and other fields.

Composition of lithium-ion batteries

Anode:
Common cathode materials include lithium manganate (LiMn2O4), lithium cobaltate (LiCoO2), and ternary materials (e.g., lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt oxide).

Conductive electrode fluids use electrolytic aluminum foil with a thickness of 10-20 microns.

Negative:
A common negative electrode material is graphite, which has good electrical conductivity and lithium storage properties.
Conductive collectors use electrolytic copper foil with a thickness of 7-15 microns.

Electrolytes:
There are two common types of electrolytes: organic electrolytes and inorganic electrolytes. Organic electrolytes are usually in liquid or gel form, such as polymer electrolytes; inorganic electrolytes are usually in solid form, such as oxides, phosphates, etc.

Diaphragm:
Common diaphragm materials are polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) or their composite membranes, such as PP/PE/PP triple diaphragms.

Shell:
Battery shells are divided into various types, such as steel shells (seldom used in square), aluminum shells, nickel-plated iron shells (used in cylindrical batteries), aluminum-plastic film (flexible packaging) and so on.

Lithium Battery Recycling Value

Precious metal value: Metals such as cobalt and nickel have high prices in the market and limited resources. Recycling these metals can bring significant economic benefits to enterprises. In particular, cobalt, as a rare and expensive metal, is in high demand in lithium batteries, so its recycling value is particularly prominent.
Reduce production costs: By recycling materials from used lithium batteries, the production costs of new batteries can be reduced. Because the recycled materials can replace part of the virgin materials, thus reducing the need for purchasing new materials and lowering production costs.

Recycling process
Discharge treatment:
Before dismantling, the used lithium battery needs to be discharged to ensure safe operation.

Dismantling:
Utilize mechanical equipment to strip the battery shell, the lithium battery after stripping the shell is physically dismantled and crushed by shredder or crusher to form lithium battery crushed material.

Preliminary sorting:
Separate out the plastic film in the lithium battery by negative pressure air separation equipment.
Separate the steel shell or other magnetic materials from the crushed materials by using magnetic separator.

Multi-stage crushing and grinding to refine the sorting:
Use the pulverizer to further refine the material after preliminary sorting.
Use vibrating sieving machine for separation and centralized collection of lithium battery positive and negative electrodes and rare metal powders.
Fine screening of materials by analyzing machine to further improve the separation effect.
Use the airflow sorting machine to sort and separate the material from copper and aluminum two kinds of metals.

Recycling and reuse:
Battery Chip Recycling: The dismantled battery chips are recycled, mainly recovering the valuable metal elements in them, such as lithium, nickel, cobalt and so on. These metals can be reused to produce new lithium batteries after refining and purification.
Electrolyte recycling: Recycling of electrolyte generated in the process of battery dismantling, separating the organic solvents in the electrolyte through distillation, concentration and other processes, and then recycling and processing or reuse.

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