Phase II Amount
Lithiumion batteries LIBs have emerged as the battery of choice for rapidly growing markets in electric vehicles EVs and grid electricity storage. This spurs a great demand for lithium, graphite, cobalt, and nickel that could outstrip the supply of virgin materials. Thus, there is an enormous interest in the development of new technologies for recycling and recovery of valuable materials from secondary resources, especially those from used lithiumion batteries. Compared to conventional high temperature pyrometallurgical or hydrometallurgical methods, the direct recycling of lithiumion batteries is a promising method. Direct recycling is capable of directly regenerating the cathode and anode materials without destroying the compounds, while significantly reducing energy and chemical consumption. In Phase I, we developed a novel gasphase process that enables the regeneration and upgrading of cathode materials from aged LIBs, as well as add new functionality to improve the performance of the cathode materials. We successfully met the Phase I milestones, addressed technical challenges, proved the innovations, and followed the work plan. This Phase II project will be focused on developing a scaledup production line with continuous operation capability that will increase our current process scale by 100 to 1000 times, reaching 0.1 to 1 ton per day. Four main objectives will be realized in Phase II. 1 First, we will develop and scaleup the key steps in the process, such as plasmabased purification and relithiation to regenerate the electrochemical performance of the materials. 2 Second, we will develop a novel preprocessing technology for battery discharge and disassembly, electrolyte recycling, removal of current collector and plastics, and separation of cathode and anode materials. This new processing technology will be based on two highly energy efficient physical processes air classification and density separation for pretreatment and acidfree chemical processes for fine treatment. 3 Third, we will integrate subprocesses and modulate the processes. For example, the jetmilling and the plasma treatment will be coupled together to remove intermediate steps. This coupling is expected to increase both the energy efficiency and recycling efficiency. The modulation of subprocesses reduces the barrier to scaleup and increases the technology adaptability at different scales of applications. 4 Fourth, we will develop a technoeconomic analysis model of the process and to identify and improve key subprocesses that have the largest energy consumption and highest operation costs. Recycling of spent batteries is an important step in addressing stringent environmental regulations and resource conservation. Battery recycling can reduce the adverse effects of mining/brine extractions of virgin metals, raw material transportation, and energy consumption, while balancing fluctuating cost dynamics and ensuring a steady supply of raw material. Successful application of this technology will enable the regeneration of cathode materials without complete breakdown of the underlying chemical compounds, which will significantly reduce energy and chemical consumption compared to current industrial processes. Direct regeneration of cathode materials using the proposed technology will increase the commercial viability of LIBs and reduce the cost of batteries, thus accelerating the electrification of transportation and largescale energy storage for renewable energy in the near future. Moreover, the direct upgrading technology is transformative. If successful, it will create a new manufacturing process for LIB cathode materials from recycled batteries and establish the leadership of U.S. manufacturing of LIBs. Along with PNE developed purification and separation processes, this direct upgrading technology offers systematic advantages in costs, energy efficiency, and environmental protection by reusing, recycling, and reproducing lithium ion batteries within an optimized system. This invention brings new opportunities to recycle batteries with high energy efficiency and low environmental impact.