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Researchers develop environment friendly and gentle lithium extracting technique based mostly on potential controllable redox {couples} | The Global Today

Recycling lithium-ion batteries is tough. The restoration of lithium of a top quality excessive sufficient for use once more is sophisticated and costly. Most recycling processes are focused at extracting the lithium from cathodes (the place a lot of the lithium in discharged batteries is situated). Nonetheless, it then precipitates out along with different metals contained within the cathode and have to be painstakingly separated.

Extraction from the anodes, which consist primarily of graphite, is considerably extra environment friendly and could be carried out with out discharging the battery beforehand. Due to their excessive reactivity, nevertheless, the danger of fires and explosions is excessive if the anodes are leached out with aqueous options, as is common. These reactions launch massive quantities of vitality and will produce hydrogen.

Now, a workforce led by Yu-Guo Guo and Qinghai Meng on the Institute of Chemistry of the Chinese language Academy of Sciences (ICCAS) and the College of Chinese language Academy of Sciences (UCAS) has developed another technique that avoids these issues. As an alternative of water, they use aprotic natural options to get well lithium from anodes. Aprotic substances can’t launch any hydrogen ions, so no hydrogen fuel can type.

A paper on the work is revealed within the journal Angewandte Chemie.

The options encompass a polycyclic fragrant hydrocarbon (PAH) and an ether because the solvent. Sure PAHs can take up a positively charged lithium ion from the graphite anode along with one electron. Underneath gentle circumstances, this redox response is managed and really environment friendly.

Chang et al.

With the PAH pyrene in tetraethylene glycol dimethyl ether, it was potential to dissolve the lively lithium from the anodes virtually fully.

A further benefit is that the ensuing lithium-PAH options can be utilized immediately as reagents, for instance, in including lithium to new anodes in preprocessing or in regenerating spent cathodes. The PAH/solvent system could be diversified to optimize it for the fabric being handled.

This restoration course of is environment friendly and cheap, reduces security dangers, avoids waste, and opens new prospects for the sustainable recycling of lithium-ion batteries.


  • Chang, X., Fan, M., Yuan, B., Gu, C.-F., He, W.-H., Li, C., Feng, X.-X., Xin, S., Meng, Q., Wan, L.-J., Guo, Y.-G. (2023) “Potential Controllable Redox Couple for Gentle and Environment friendly Lithium Restoration from Spent Batteries” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. doi: 10.1002/anie.202310435

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