Experts from the University of Birmingham's School of Metallurgy and Materials, one of nine contributing partners, will focus on separating lithium-ion batteries' black mass and direct, cost-effective recycling processes.
With €3.5M funding from the Horizon Europe programme and Innovate UK, through their Horizon Europe Guarantee Fund, the REVITALISE consortium aims to revolutionise battery recycling, targeting a comprehensive range of materials, including lithium-ion and sodium-ion batteries which represent 85% of battery waste streams up to 2025 and beyond.
The project also aims to achieve 91% or more recycling rates for waste processed from post-production scrap and end-of-life battery black mass, achieved through innovative pre-treatment technologies, ensuring significantly high levels of material stream purity. This innovation will enable commercially viable low-value parts, including 40% direct recycling of cathode and anode active parts. Furthermore, a smart-reformation approach for reclaimed active materials, hydrometallurgical recycling, and water remediation techniques will ensure high recycling rates. Finally, the recycled components will be thoroughly assessed for use in closed-loop batteries and other secondary applications.
Project management and coordination:
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) will coordinate and manage the project consortium. NTNU will develop new hydrometallurgy processes for producing lithium salts and battery precursors with graphite, fluoride, and phosphorous recovery.
Recycling technologies development:
Watercycle Technologies Ltd will apply its groundbreaking technology for a hydrometallurgy approach to recovering lithium, mixed salt precursors and other valuable materials from spent lithium-ion batteries. Watercycle Technologies' patented advanced membranes and filtration systems will treat black mass to create a lithium-rich solution, which will be crystalised into battery-grade lithium carbonate. Watercycle enables direct lithium recycling for concentrations as low as 0.6mg/L.
EELEMENTS GmbH will use its shock wave fragmentation technology to efficiently separate material streams for battery component separation and raw material recovery.
University of Münster (MEET) will leverage its ultrasonication process for binder, coating, active material, and electrolyte separation. MEET will also provide innovative black mass particle analysis for improved characterisation.
The University of Birmingham School of Metallurgy and Materials will focus on separating lithium-ion batteries' black mass, optimising and applying it to different battery chemistries. They will also focus on the direct recycling processes for cathodic and anodic parts and their improvement, making them more cost-effective.
Fundació Eurecat will develop an innovative sodium-ion cells recycling process to recover materials. Eurecat will also perform the sustainability assessment, including LCA and techno-economic analysis, as well as the Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) of new technologies.
Verkor SAS will supply battery manufacturing scrap and be responsible for evaluating end-upcycled materials for new battery manufacturing and small-scale technical validation.
Hydro Batteries (Hydro Energi AS), part of Norsk Hydro ASA, will supply black mass and work on the valorisation of output fractions, including critical elements and low-value materials. Hydro will also lead the commercial aspects of the route to market and focus on scalability aspects.
Iconiq Innovation SL will undertake dissemination and communication activities and lead the Tech-Futures Analysis on behalf of the project partners. Iconiq will also help build the exploitation strategy for the project results and look into future funding opportunities.