Li-ion battery identity 'passport' promises efficient recycling

April 06, 2021 // By Rich Pell
Battery identity 'passport' promises efficient recycling
Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) say they have devised a method to identify the unique chemical makeup of every lithium-ion battery around the world.

Such information, say the researchers, could be used to accelerate recycling, recover critical materials, and resolve a growing waste stream from the growing use of lithium-ion batteries in expanding markets such as consumer electronics, electric vehicles, and renewable energy storage. While the recycling of end-of-life batteries is currently still in its infancy, with many fundamental and technological hurdles to overcome, the researchers are proposing a direct recycling strategy they call a "Battery Identity Global Passport."

Similar to how plastics are stamped with a recycling code identifying their makeup, say the researchers, Li-ion batteries could be encoded with the Battery Identity Global Passport, which could be accessible as a scannable QR code or a computer chip. This method could help recyclers more efficiently locate in-demand materials and accommodate the wide variety of designs used to manufacture Li-ion batteries.

"This passport," says ORNL's Ilias Belharouak, "can help recyclers contend with the mixed stream of materials since there’s no standard cell chemistry now for Li-ion battery production. The challenge is growing as we see more of these batteries used in electric vehicles, for energy storage and in electronic devices."

In a paper on the research, the researchers offer an overview of the current state of battery recycling and describe their direct recycling strategy through discussion of its benefits, processes, and challenges. For more, see "Energy and environmental aspects in recycling lithium-ion batteries: Concept of Battery Identity Global Passport."

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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