Enhanced Hydrometallurgical Recovery of Valuable Metals from Spent Lithium-ion Batteries by Mechanical Activation Process

Jie Guan 1

Haiyang Xiao 1

Xiaoyi Lou 2

Yaoguang Guo 1, 3, Email

Xingmin Luo 1

Yingshun Li 4

Chao Yan 5

Xingru Yan 6

Guilan Gao 1

Hao Yuan 1, 3

Jue Dai 1

Ruijng Su 1

Weixing Gu 7

Zhanhu Guo 6, Email

1 Research Center of Resource Recycling Science and Engineering, School of Environmental and Materials Engineering, Shanghai Polytechnic University, Shanghai 201209, China
2 Key Laboratory of Control of Quality and Safety for Aquatic Products, Ministry of Agriculture, East China Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, Shanghai 200090, China
3 Shanghai Pudong Shuguang Research Center for Environmental Treatment Technologies, Shanghai 20209, China
4 Shanghai Xin Jinqiao Environmental Protection Co., Ltd., Shanghai 201201, China
5 School of Material Science and Engineering, Jiangsu University of Science and Technology, Zhenjiang, Jiangsu, China
6 Integrated Composites Laboratory (ICL), Department of Chemical & Bimolecular Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN37996, USA
7 Shanghai Julang Environmental Protection Co., Ltd., Shanghai 201712, China

Abstract

Recycling of valuable metals from spent lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) is desirable for resource recovery and environmental protection. In this work, hydrometallurgical recovery of valuable metals from spent LIBs was enhanced by the mechanical activation process. The leaching rates of both Co and Li increased dramatically with increasing the ball milling time, rotation speed and ball-to-powder mass ratio. The recovery of Co and Li increased with increasing the concentration of leachates, while the leaching rates of metals decreased dramatically owing to the decreased available surface area per unit volume of solution with increasing the solid-to-liquid (S/L) ratio. In addition, the leaching rates of Co and Li were both higher than those of the non-activated samples, indicating that mechanical activation process could enhance the metal recovery. Moreover, the leaching kinetics results showed that the mechanical activation process could alter the leaching behavior of valuable metals. Ultimately, the recovery of Co and Li from actual cathode materials disassembled from the spent LIBs was also explored. The leaching rates of Co and Li were 93% and 100%, respectively. This efficient mechanical activation process is of great significance for recovering valuable metals from the spent LIBs under mild conditions.

Enhanced Hydrometallurgical Recovery of Valuable Metals from Spent Lithium-ion Batteries by Mechanical Activation Process