Tech Bundle

Diagnostics, Refurbishment and Recycling

Scalable, Cost-effective Calorimeter for Thermal Monitoring of Batteries
Battery cells must be tested for performance and operational reliability from the design phase to the production process, to safeguard its safety, reliability and cost. As batteries are prone to temperature-related issues, like overheating and overcharging, there can be extreme spikes in temperature known as ‘thermal runaway’. In order to evaluate the thermal performance of the battery, calorimetric testing can produce data that indicates defects at an early stage and thus help to predict a ‘thermal runaway’ at a later stage.  A German research institute has developed a modular, scalable calorimeter to measure the thermal data of batteries of diverse cell sizes. The scalable system is suitable for applications in thermal monitoring from new module designs to new battery materials and quality assurance. The modules are currently in use at the research institute and this calorimeter has German utility model protection. The research institute is searching for partners for the joint further development in research cooperation agreements or for partners interested in a direct license.
Process for Rejuvenation of Spent Lithium-ion Battery Cathodes
Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) have been the preferred portable energy source in recent decades. The tremendous growth in the use of LIBs has resulted in a great number of spent LIBs. Disposal of these spent LIBs will cause serious environmental problems due to hazardous components such as heavy metals and electrolytes. Materials contained in the spent LIBs are valuable resources and could be recycled by proper technologies. Current methods are not suitable for LIB recycling due to slow process, low purity of the products (low profits) and the use of non-environmental friendly leaching reagents. The proposed LIB recycling technology is based on a co-precipitation process and control system which can process various types of spent LIBs including lithium cobalt oxide (LCO), lithium manganese oxide (LMO), lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC) and lithium nickel cobalt aluminium oxide (NCA). The co-precipitation method allows the recovery of cathode metal salts in their original form, without separation of the metal elements. The obtained metal salts could then serve as the precursor for synthesis of new cathode material.  In summary the process recovers the following products at more than 99% purity levels: (a) graphite and (b) cathode metal salts e.g. LiCo1/3Ni1/3Mn1/3O2, NiCO3, MnCO3, CoC2O4, and Li2CO3. The technology provider is seeking a partner who is willing to fund the prototype development and become an early adopter of the technology. Preferably, the partner should have access to spent LIB sources to support the trial.
Redox Targeting Method for Recycling of Spent Lithium-Ion Batteries Material
With the retirement of massive amount of end-of-life lithium ion batteries (LIBs), proper disposal of the hazardous wastes and cost-effective valorization of useful materials have become increasingly pressing and attracted extensive attention worldwide. The state-of-the-art recycling technologies, which are generally based on chemical leaching methods, have critical issues of enormous chemicals consumption, secondary pollution and tedious procedures. The technology relates to an innovative redox targeting-based process for the recycling of spent lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries. With 0.20M of ferrocyanide [Fe(CN)6]3- solution as a selective and regenerative redox mediator, LiFePO4 is readily broken down into FePO4 and Li+ via the redox-targeting reaction. An Li-removal efficiency of 99.8% has been achieved with 50 minutes reaction at ambient conditions. The reacted redox species [Fe(CN)6]4- are instantaneously regenerated on the electrode for subsequent round of reaction while Li+ ion is separated from the counter electrode compartment as lithium hydroxide (LiOH).  The technology provider is currently seeking industry partner to scale-up and commercialise the technology.
Recycling Lithium-ion Battery Cathodes Using Deep Eutectic Solvents
As the consumption of lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) for the transportation and consumer electronics sectors continues to grow, so does the pile of battery waste. Lithium-ion battery waste retains value particularly in the form of metal ions in the cathode part of the device, but few standardised methods exist to extract, recover, and reuse these precious metals. Such metals can be extracted using environmentally-friendly deep eutectic solvents which is safer than other corrosive hydrometallurgical methods which typically use strong acids, or high-energy pyrometallurgical methods which incinerate and grind waste battery material at temperatures beyond 1000˚C. The deep eutectic solvents (DES) can be made from commercially available commodities such as choline chloride and ethylene glycol which makes them good candidates for industrial scales. The battery recycling industries could benefit from the use of safer solvents that can still effectively extract and recover precious metals from spent lithium-ion batteries for reuse in other applications. Starting with disassembly of the LIB, cathode waste is inserted into a DES, which is then heated and stirred. Extraction of cobalt and lithiumm ions occurs through dissolution, and at this step, aluminium foil, binder and conductive carbon can be recovered separately when the leachate is filtered. Cobalt compounds can then be recovered either through precipitation or electrodeposition, allowing reutilization of these valuable materials.