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Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling and Life Cycle Analysis

diagram of the battery recycling life cycle

Several types of recycling processes are available, recovering materials usable at different stages of the production cycle— from metallic elements to materials that can be reused directly in new batteries. Recovery closer to final usable form avoids more impact-intensive process steps. Portions courtesy of Umicore, Inc.

To identify the potential impacts of the growing market for automotive lithium-ion batteries, Argonne researchers are examining the material demand and recycling issues related to lithium-ion batteries. Research includes:

  • Conducting studies to identify the greenest, most economical recycling processes,
  • Investigating recycling practices to determine how much of which materials could be recovered with current or improved methods, and
  • Quantifying the environmental impacts of both battery production and recycling processes through life-cycle analyses using Argonne's GREET model.

Researchers leverage Argonne's BatPaC model to determine the material compositions needed to perform life-cycle analyses on different lithium-ion battery chemistries.

Funding for this research is being provided by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Vehicle Technologies Program.

Fact Sheets

  • Closing the Lithium-ion Battery Life Cycle (fact sheet; January 2014)
  • Energy and Materials Issues That Affect Electric Vehicle Batteries (fact sheet; May 2013)
  • How Green is Battery Recycling (fact sheet; October 26, 2012)

Papers and Presentations

  • The Future of Automotive Lithium-ion Battery Recycling: Charting a Sustainable Course (paper; November 2014)
  • Enabling Future Li-Ion Battery Recycling (presentation; September 2014)
  • A Look Through the Crystal Ball at the Future of Automobile Battery Recycling (presentation; March 2014)
  • The Future of Automobile Battery Recycling (presentation; February 2014)
  • Can Automotive Battery Recycling Help Meet Critical Material Demand? (presentation; October 2013
  • Recycling of Lithium-Ion Batteries (presentation; October 2013)
  • Can Automotive Battery Recycling Help Meet Lithium Demand? (presentation; April 2013)
  • Energy and Environmental Impacts of Lithium Production for Automotive Batteries (presentation; April 2013)
  • Recovery of Metals from Spent Lithium-ion Batteries with Organic Acids as Leaching Reagents and Environmental Assessment (paper; February 1, 2013)
  • The Impact of Recycling on Cradle-to-Gate Energy Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Automotive Lithium-Ion Batteries (paper; October 17, 2012)
  • Comparison of Li-Ion Battery Recycling Processes by Life-Cycle Analysis (presentation; September 13, 2012)
  • Material and Energy Flows in the Materials Production, Assembly, and End of Life Stages of the Automotive Lithium Ion Battery Life Cycle (report; May 20, 2012)
  • To recycle, or not to recycle, that is the question: Insights from life-cycle analysis (journal article; April 2012)
  • A Comparison of Li-Ion Battery Recycling Options (presentation; April 2012)
  • Reduction of Electric Vehicle Life-Cycle Impacts through Battery Recycling (presentation; March 15, 2012)
  • Impacts of the Manufacturing and Recycling Stages on Battery Life Cycles (paper; March 1, 2012)
  • Recycling of Li-Ion Batteries (presentation; November, 15, 2011)
  • Recycling of LiFePO4 Batteries (presentation; November 8, 2011)
  • Lithium-Ion Battery Issues (presentation; September 26, 2011)
  • Reducing Foreign Lithium Dependence through Co-Production of Lithium from Geothermal Brine (paper; October 23, 2011)
  • How Green is Battery Recycling (presentation; March 16, 2011)
  • Role of Recycling in the Life Cycle of Batteries (paper; March 2, 2011)
  • A Review of Battery Life-Cycle Analysis: State of Knowledge and Critical Needs (report; October 10, 2010)
  • Life-Cycle Analysis for Lithium-Ion Battery Production and Recycling (paper; August 1, 2010)
  • Lithium-Ion Batteries: Examining Material Demand and Recycling Issues (paper; February 10, 2010)
  • Lithium-Ion Batteries: Possible Materials Issues (paper; June 24, 2009)


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Linda Gaines

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