USABC awards $1.08M Li-ion battery recycling undertaking to Worcester Polytechnic Institute

The US Superior Battery Consortium LLC (USABC), a collaborative group of FCA US LLC, Ford Motor Firm and Normal Motors, has awarded $1.08 million to Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Massachusetts for Part II of a lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery recycling contract.

The contract award, which features a 50% value share, funds a 24-month undertaking. Constructing on Part I, this contract will allow WPI to exhibit the power of its course of to recycle spent Li-ion batteries and produce new cathode supplies to generate a better nickel cathode powder.

The WPI staff, led by Yan Wang, William Smith Basis Dean’s Affiliate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, has developed a patented closed-loop recycling course of by which the batteries are first shredded. After the shredded supplies are separated, the cathode powders are dissolved. By adjusting the chemistry of the answer, new supplies, within the desired ratios, will be precipitated out as precursor and used to make cathode materials for brand new batteries.

Different supplies recovered from the shredded batteries, together with metal, graphite, and plastics, will also be recycled, thus benefiting the atmosphere and bettering the general enterprise mannequin.

As a part of the section 1 USABC undertaking, Wang took the method developed in his lab and proved that it may be scaled as much as produce cathode supplies which might be equal in high quality to these out there commercially, and that these recovered supplies can be utilized to make new automobile batteries which might be similar to models bought by unique gear producers (OEMs) to be used in hybrid and electrical automobiles.

The WPI recycling course of was proven to be efficient in recycling batteries that comprise probably the most generally used cathode supplies on the time the analysis was accomplished to supply new cathode powders. However over the previous few years, battery makers and automotive producers have more and more been transferring in direction of increased nickel cathode formulations in efforts to scale back the amount of cobalt contained within the cathode powders.

The swap to nickel is leading to higher batteries, as nickel-rich cathodes supply increased vitality density (a better means to retailer vitality) than cobalt-rich cathodes. However, Wang famous, producing nickel-rich cathodes is a extra demanding course of that requires extra steps not required for cobalt-rich cathodes.

With the brand new USABC award, Wang and his staff will search to exhibit their means to supply high-quality nickel-rich cathode powders from supplies recovered from recycled batteries, and that these cathode powders will be integrated into batteries with electrochemical efficiency on par with OEM management models made with industrial powder. The staff can even discover how totally different anode supplies, together with lithium, silicon, and titanium dioxide, in addition to adhesives utilized in battery manufacture, have an effect on the recycling course of.

I'm fairly assured that we are able to meet these targets. Within the first section of our USABC undertaking we gained basic data about tips on how to management our course of to supply cathode particles with the specified properties. Whereas the situations for forming cathode powders will likely be totally different with the high-nickel supplies, our course of is sort of versatile and I imagine it may be tailored to the brand new formulations.

—Yan Wang

As within the unique USABC-funded undertaking, the work of creating and testing new automotive batteries utilizing the high-nickel cathode powders produced by Wang’s staff will likely be subcontracted to A123 Techniques and Battery Resourcers, an organization that has licensed WPI’s patented Li-ion battery recycling course of.

USABC is a subsidiary of america Council for Automotive Analysis LLC (USCAR). Enabled by a cooperative settlement with the U.S. Division of Power (DOE), USABC’s mission is to develop electrochemical vitality storage applied sciences that help commercialization of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electrical and gasoline cell automobiles. In help of its mission, USABC has developed mid- and long-term targets to information its tasks and measure its progress.