A team of scientists at Technische Universität Dresden (TUD) is partnering with Elyte Innovations to improve the recycling process and ecological footprint of lithium-ion batteries.
Named “SWELL—Recovery of Electrolyte Salts and Solvents” and funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection, the project focuses on the recovery of non-metallic components, including lithium salts, solvents and electrolyte additives, instead of recovering the metals.
To increase the material recovery rates during the recycling of lithium-ion batteries, the team led by Professor Jan J. Weigand is working on efficient separation methods for liquid and solid electrolyte components.
“The electrolytes are largely lost in previous processes in the form of thermal recycling or downcycling,” said team member Dr. Kai Schwedtmann from the Chair of Inorganic Molecular Chemistry at TUD. “However, the electrolyte components have significant material value and contain critical, environmentally relevant resources, such as lithium, fluorine and phosphorus. Their recovery and efficient reprocessing with the aim of direct reuse in lithium-ion batteries is therefore of great interest and can lead to a significant increase in the sustainability of battery cell production.”