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Life cycle assessment of an innovative lithium-ion battery recycling route: A feasibility study

TitoloLife cycle assessment of an innovative lithium-ion battery recycling route: A feasibility study
Tipo di pubblicazioneArticolo su Rivista peer-reviewed
Anno di Pubblicazione2022
AutoriF. Castro, Duarte, Mehner E., Cutaia Laura, and Vaccari M.
RivistaJournal of Cleaner Production
Parole chiaveBattery pack, Battery recycling, Carcinogenics, Circular economy, Critical raw materials, Economic analysis, Economics evaluations, ecotoxicity, electronic waste, Environmental impact, Eutrophication, fresh water, life cycle, Lithium-ion batteries, Material recovery, Recycling, Resource scarcity, Sustainable development, Toxicity, Water

The number of end-of-life (EoL) lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) has increased worldwide. Yet, current recycling technologies are unoptimized. In this study, a recycling route consisting of LIB dismantling, discharge, cell opening, thermal pretreatment, leaching and precipitation was investigated in a life cycle assessment (LCA) approach. The final goal of the study was to understand the process feasibility, by adopting hotspot and scenario analyses, and economic evaluation as supporting tools. Primary data was used as input for the LCA. Under the base scenario, recycling credits were obtained for the categories of terrestrial toxicity, human non-carcinogenic toxicity, and mineral resource scarcity. Citric acid use was the main contributor to overall impacts in 13 out of 18 impact categories. The analysis of the best-case scenario, which simulated possible improvements during scale-up, resulted in reduced impacts for every impact category as compared to the base scenario. Citric acid reuse was essential for impact mitigation. The improved recycling process (best-case) of 1 battery pack (3.8 kg, 148.5 Wh) led to credits in the categories of mineral resource scarcity (−0.278 ± 0.0105 kg Cu eq), human non-carcinogenic toxicity (−34.3 ± 1.9 kg 1,4-DCB eq), marine ecotoxicity (−3.05 ± 0.204 kg 1,4-DCB eq), freshwater ecotoxicity (−2.46 ± 0.162 kg 1,4-DCB eq), terrestrial ecotoxicity (−178 ± 8.69 kg 1,4-DCB eq), and freshwater eutrophication (−0.00095 ± 0.000154 kg P eq). A preliminary economic evaluation resulted in revenues of €298.59 ± 12.93 and material and energy costs of €97.42 ± 1.95 per battery pack. Anode recovery was profitable. © 2022 Elsevier Ltd


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Citation KeyDuarteCastro2022