Recycling of Lithium-Ion batteries


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The development of the electric vehicles sector, combined with an increase in the use of cell phones and laptops, is increasing the volume of lithium-ion batteries ending up in landfill. It is, in turn, leading to toxicity of leached metals in the environment.

As part of its commitment to sustainability, Tata Chemicals has established a circular economy in its lithium-ion battery business. By recycling Li-ion batteries, we recover valuable materials that are part of these products and leverage science into delivering sustainable solutions.

This endeavour has given birth to our latest offering - InsperiCoTM, which is an industrial grade chemical. InsperiCoTM is the world's first branded recycled cobalt. Recycling of spent batteries gives us valuable metals in the form of salts of lithium, cobalt, nickel, and manganese along with by-products like graphite, iron, copper and aluminium.

 

All of these materials can be sent back into the value chain for use in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries, other energy storage systems, or in industries such as glass, ceramic, pigments, adhesive, paint, etc. where demand for these materials is high.

 

Advantages to industry

By sourcing recovered materials from spent lithium-ion batteries, enterprises can reduce dependence on imports of materials such as cobalt, which is typically associated with unsavoury mining practices such as exploitation and the use of child labour.

Recycling spent lithium-ion batteries reduces the pressure on the environment.

Our recycling process is based on hydrometallurgical route which is energy-efficient. It can help enterprises reduce CO2 emissions, by up to 90 percent, through the production cycle, along with a reduction of overall environment footprint.

Our process

We started with a lab-scale 100kgs recycling unit in July 2019, which has been scaled up to a 10-tonne per month plant. Eventually, we are targeting building of a facility that can annually recycle up to 120 tonnes.

The technology deployed can break down most types of lithium-ion batteries, including those based on lithium cobalt oxide (LCO), nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC), nickel cobalt aluminium oxide (NCA), etc.

Our process of recycling is safe, economical, sustainable, and accords the following benefits:

  • Targets zero liquid/solid and gaseous discharge to the environment
  • Authorised collection and channelisation of sourcing by ensuring end-to-end traceability
  • 90 percent material recovery rate
  • Industry-leading levels of yield with a 99 percent purity level of the recovered metal