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Recycling of spent lithium nickel-cobalt batteries through leaching of nickel and cobalt from cathode material

Monteiro, Kristian (2018) Recycling of spent lithium nickel-cobalt batteries through leaching of nickel and cobalt from cathode material. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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This research paper investigates a hydrometallurgical approach that includes the leaching of spent lithium-ion battery cathode material. The targeted elements to be recovered are cobalt and nickel which are identified to be the cost drivers in the lithium-ion battery to date. The observation of parameters surrounding the leaches give a brief but excellent understanding into the recovery mechanisms and extraction stages of nickel and cobalt in a sulphuric acid and hydrogen peroxide medium.

The recycling of lithium ion batteries is trending to become one of the major processes in the recycling industry heading forward. As more appliances and technologies look to lithium ion batteries for an energy storage system, it is crucial that the supply is not hindered with the increase in demand for the battery. The eventual commercialization of a hydrometallurgical process will most likely be based around the leaching of the spent lithium ion batteries and the recovery of valuable metals.

Although further test work is necessary to achieve credible and reliable results, this thesis demonstrates the effect of the change in parameters within the test work which leads to the recovery of nickel and cobalt from waste lithium ion batteries. 113.2 % cobalt and 98.6 % nickel were recovered with the leaching of cathode material while 109.6 % cobalt and 100.5 % nickel were extracted with the leaching of separator material. The increased recovery at a lower cost will generally lead to a commercialised process that will in the future be used to process all spent lithium- ion batteries.

This thesis looks at the broader scope of the energy storage system market, identifies the cost driver and looks to decrease that cost driver for a viable and cost effective process.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Information Technology
Supervisor(s): Nikoloski, Aleksandar
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