Worn cathodes can resurface in new batteries

United States: A research team at the US University of California San Diego has developed a patent-pending recycling process that restores used cathodes from spent lithium-ion batteries and makes them ‘just as good as new’.

The innovative technique can be used to recover and restore lithium cobalt oxide, which is widely used in smartphones and laptops. It is also suitable for recovering NMC - a popular lithium cathode containing nickel, manganese and cobalt which is used in most electric cars.

Researchers say the novel method begins with the collection of cathode particles from spent lithium-ion batteries. These are then pressurised in a hot alkaline solution containing lithium salt which can be reused to process more batches.

The particles are subsequently subjected to a short annealing process in which they are heated to 800 degC and then cooled ‘very slowly’.

As a result, the cathodes treated do not suffer any loss of storage capacity nor a reduced lifespan.


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