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Industry News | Retired Power Batteries Achieve Low-Cost, High-Quality Cathode "Regeneration"

published: 2024-06-14 17:04

A research team has made progress in the sustainable recycling of retired power batteries. They have broken through the complex three-step process of extraction, precipitation, and calcination currently used, and proposed a one-step high-quality regeneration scheme for retired lithium-ion battery cathodes based on sustainable leaching and co-precipitation strategies. This introduces a new pathway for transforming into next-generation power battery cathode materials, reducing the cost of cathode materials by 38.3% and 73.6% respectively. This leads to the creation of new low-cost, high-performance next-generation energy storage batteries, which is expected to accelerate the promotion and application of advanced power battery recycling technologies and promote the rapid commercial development of the battery recycling industry.

With the continuous growth of lithium battery shipments in China, calculated based on an average service life of 5 to 8 years for power batteries, the first batch of power batteries introduced to the market in our country has reached its retirement phase. It is estimated that by 2026, the theoretical recycling scale of domestic lithium batteries will reach 2.312 million tons. This has turned the lithium battery recycling industry into a highly anticipated "blue ocean market." However, the current phased-out power batteries vary in specifications and appearances, especially in the composition of the cells, posing certain challenges to recycling and reuse.

The low-cost, high-quality direct cathode regeneration scheme proposed by the research team is expected to drive innovative development in commercial power battery recycling. They use relatively environmentally friendly low-cost organic acid solutions to extract high-value elements from retired battery cathodes while effectively removing impurity elements that adversely affect the later regeneration process. By utilizing a co-precipitation regeneration process, the regenerated ternary oxide cathode achieves a reversible areal capacity of 2.73mAh/cm^2, surpassing the performance of current commercial ternary cathode materials. Meanwhile, the cathodes of retired power batteries can be regenerated into low-cost NASICON sodium battery cathode materials, capable of stable operation for 1200 cycles. Calculated based on charging five times per month, this cathode material can stably operate for 20 years.


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