One major reason for the rising demand for lithium-ion batteries, is the fast growth of the electromobility industry that leads to an urgent need for a sustainable recycling process for spent batteries and production rejects .
Ideally, the battery materials should be recovered with the highest quality and minimum effort to realize their direct re-use as battery materials. To develop an economically and ecologically reasonable process special regarding attention is paied to the valuable battery-active materials. [See the final report and LCA of the project LithoRec]
Lion Engineering is a Start-Up in the field of lithium-ion battery recycling with several patents and patent applications in this particular field. Lion Engieering provides patented technology for the realization of the LithoRec II pilot plant .
Lion Engineering GmbH supports, counsels and coordinates the development of an intelligent recycling process for all the valuable ingredients of the battery (lithium, copper, aluminium, steel, plastic, the electrolyt-solvent and electrolyt-salt), as partner in “LithoRec II”.
Beginning with the discharge and disassembly of the battery systems the focus is on the recovery of lithium and the electrolyte. Thereby processes of mechanical, chemical and thermal process engineering (crushing, grinding, sizing, sorting, extracting) separate battery active materials from the metallic current collector foils before they get hydrometallurgically converted into raw materials to produce new battery active materials. The new battery active materials are prepared and characterized in test cells. In parallel, an ecological and an economic assessment will be performed for the whole process.
Thereby LithoRec II combines material and process enginering tasks with economical and ecological analyzes in order to realize a successful recycling of lithium-based battery systems from electromobility. The goal is the implementation of sustainable electromobility in Germany, an partially economic decoupling of the battery technology from raw material prices as well as the minimization of negative environmental impacts from the raw material extraction.
In LithoRec II the companies Rockwood Lithium (the former lithium division of Chemetall GmbH), Audi, Bosch Rexroth, Electrocycling, HC Starck, Hosokawa Alpine, I + ME Actia, KUKA robot, Lion Engineering, Solvay Fluor and Volkswagen are involved. On the scientific side, the Institute for Machine Tools and Production Technology (IWF) additional the Institute for Particle Technology (IPAT), the Institute of High Voltage Engineering and Electrical Energy Systems (elenia), the Institute for Thermal and Chemical Process Engineering (ICTV), the Institute of Automotive Management and Industrial Production (AIP) (all TU Braunschweig) and also the MEET Battery research center of the University of Münster is involved. The TU Braunschweig represented by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Arno Kwade (IPAT and Lion Engineering) is responsible for the scientific management.