The battery recycling revolution

The reuse of strategic materials such as cobalt, used in the cathodes of LIBs (lithium-ion batteries), is a particularly interesting strategy for countries that do not have direct access to certain critical natural resources. This metal is essential for the manufacture of NMC cathodes (lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide) for lithium ion batteries and is the component with the largest carbon footprint associated with battery production due to its costly procurement.

However, the current level of Li-ion battery recycling in Europe is very limited, with very few companies along the value chain actively involved in the recovery and reuse of critical materials. The recovery of strategic materials through hydrometallurgical-based recycling processes has a significant room for improvement. It will not only increase the availability of strategic materials as alternative raw materials but also make them more cost-effective and reduce the environmental impact associated with their acquisition.

rimsa collaborates in the optimization of metal recovery processes from black mass obtained from the battery recycling process. Our task, within the SENECA project, consists in the production of NMC for the manufacture of second life cathodes in order to contribute to the articulation of a new competitive value chain at national level for the recovery and reuse of these strategic materials present in our country. The reuse of these materials from waste presents a more sustainable alternative source with a great geostrategic interest that will contribute to reduce Europe’s dependence on third parties for their procurement.

Battery recycling

Written by: Roger Oriol López, Senior R+D+i Engineer – Electrochemist