A team from the University in Nevada, US has found lithium-ion batteries using recycled materials operate “at least as well” as batteries made with virgin commercial materials.
The researchers used physical tests, imaging, and computer simulations to compare new cathode materials to those recovered from used electric vehicle batteries using a recycling process being commercialised by Battery Resourcers.
The team was led by Yan Wang, professor in the university’s Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.
The study was published in the journal Joule.
The team showed the recycled LiNi1/3Mn1/3Co1/3O2 had a superior rate and cycle performance, which was verified by various industry-level tests.
Specifically, the researchers reported 1Ah cells using the recycled material had a 4,200 cycle life and 11,600 cycles at 80% and 70% capacity retention.
Meanwhile, its rate performance is 88.6% better than commercial powders at 5C.
Wang said: “As demand grows for lithium-ion batteries, it will be important to recycle materials from used batteries, especially batteries from electric vehicles.
“Battery manufacturers want to know that recycled cathode materials are not inferior to new cathode materials. This research shows that recycled materials can electrochemically match or outperform pristine, state-of-the-art cathode materials from tier 1 suppliers.”
Wang collaborated on the paper with researchers from A123 Systems, Battery Resourcers, Argonne National Laboratory, Rice University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC)