Scientists and engineers at the University of California San Diego has developed a process for full recovery of the cathode of a lithium ion battery, which lost their functions due to multiple recharge. Having made this technology the battery with the recovered cathode, the researchers had the battery characteristics of the new.
The results of this work will be the solution to all environmental problems associated with disposal of spent lithium-ion batteries, said Science Daily. Currently in the world is recycled only 5% of such batteries. The new technology will allow to turn all the waste back into a working battery, while saving valuable mineral resources.
“In the future we are waiting for millions of tons of old batteries, especially with the development of electric vehicles, their uncertain where to put them. In addition, depleted reserves of lithium and cobalt,” warns study co-author Zhen Chen, a Professor of nanoengineering at the University of San Diego.
By the way, the method is suitable for restoring not only cathodes made from lithium cobalt oxide, which is widely used in consumer electronic devices, including smartphones and laptops. The technology is also suitable for cathodes of an alloy of Nickel, manganese and cobalt, which are used in most electric batteries.
In the first stage method involves filtering particles of the cathode from the spent batteries. Then, the cathodes and the collected particles are placed in a hot alkaline solution containing lithium salt, and this solution can be used repeatedly.
After completion of the chemical reduction reaction of the cathode are short annealing process of heating to 800 degrees and slowly cooled. This restores not only the concentration of lithium in the cathode of the cathode, but the structure of its atoms, and almost in its original state.
In General, for the recovery of 1 kilogram of cathodes refining process uses a 5.9 megajoules of energy, equivalent to ¾ Cup of gasoline. Now engineers face the challenge to optimize the process for industrial use. In addition, the team of Chen intends to expand use of this technology on all types of anodes.
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