Sustainable electrochemical process could improve lithium-ion battery recycling

Spent lithium-ion batteries have metals that are hard to separate for recycling, but new tech by University of Illinois researchers uses electrochemistry to separate and recover the metals.

By Lois Yoksoulian December 3, 2021
Courtesy: Fred Zwicky

Spent lithium-ion batteries contain valuable metals that are difficult to separate from each other for recycling purposes. Used batteries present a sustainable source of these metals, especially cobalt and nickel, but the current methods used for their separation have environmental and efficiency drawbacks. A new technology uses electrochemistry to efficiently separate and recover the metals, making spent batteries a highly sustainable secondary source of cobalt and nickel – the reserves of which are currently dwindling.


Lois Yoksoulian
Author Bio: Lois Yoksoulian, physical sciences editor, University of Illinois