Recycling and repurposing of spent Li-ion batteries

Study level

PhD
Master of Philosophy
Honours

Background

The beginning of the 21st century has witnessed enormous advancements in Li-ion battery (LIB) technologies due to the increased usage of portable devices (mobile phones, laptops, cameras, etc.), and large-scale energy-storage systems (electric vehicles and renewable sources). As LIBs continue to electrify our world, it will generate large amounts of scrap (estimated to be over 11 million tonnes of spent LIBs until 2030), which is going to be the serious environmental thread as LIBs contains toxic electrolytes and heavy metals. With State bans on batteries in landfill, and limited recycling-infrastructure, which currently uses toxic chemicals, an immediate problem is clear. This project aims to recycle the materials from used Li-ion batteries such as graphite, metal oxides, separators etc. and transform them into usable products, thus closing the recycling loop.

Research Activities

The project is experimental in nature and involve following tasks: (1) Innovate the recycling and recovering protocols of spent LIBs. (2) Develop novel methods and solvents for the recovery of materials. (3) Transform the recovered materials into usable new products. (4) Characterize the materials using cutting-edge facilities at CARF. (5) Search new markets for the new products. The student will work in expert and highly motivated research team, providing the opportunity for an effective and rich learning experience.

Outcomes

This research project aims to develop new methods and new solvents for the recycling of LIBs for the development of sustainable battery technology, providing a Waste-to-Wealth solution. The new products will provide a profitable solution for the recycling of huge amounts of LIBs scarps, paving a way toward the circular economy. Successful execution of this project will lead new knowledge, publications, training of researchers, and capability building of Australian R&D. The project will open new opportunities for industry-based grant applications (CRC and ARC) as well as develop a skilled scientist to easily absorb in the industry.

Skills and experience

Background in chemistry, physics and materials science, engineering all are welcome.


Other Team Members

Dr Veena Sahajwala, UNSW, Australia, Dr Olin, HÃ¥kan-Mid Sweden University, Sweden