Sustainable battery recycling

Sustainable battery recycling

The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety supports the MERCATOR research project on battery recycling.

A consortium of seven partners from industry and research seeks to establish whether it is possible to optimise the recycling of lithium-ion batteries in terms of ecological, economic, and supply aspects.

As one of the research partners, RWTH’s Institute of Process Metallurgy and Metal Recycling IME headed by Professor Bernd Friedrich will contribute to the project, which is titled “Material-Efficient Recycling for the Circular Economy of Automotive Storage Systems without Residual Waste – MERCATOR.”

The aim is to minimise the high disposal costs of batteries from electrically powered vehicles. The focus is on the cost-effective recovery of all valuable secondary raw materials, some of which have been classified as critical, and on improving the eco-balance of these batteries. The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety provides funding in the amount of 2.9 million euros to support the research project.

Due to the high disposal costs of the battery modules, industrial application is not economical in the long run. Moreover, in the current processes, valuable components such as lithium or graphite are not recovered. This not only has a negative impact on the supply of secondary materials for European battery cell production, but also on the overall eco-balance and economy of electric vehicles.

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Source: “MERCATOR: making electric mobility more sustainable”, RWTH Aachen