There are two typical follow-up paths for lithium-ion battery recycling, cascade utilization or direct material recycling.
1. Cascade utilization and raw material recycling
For retired power lithium-ion batteries, those who take the road of cascade utilization are to recover materials after the cascade utilization; for direct material recycling, the batches are too small, there is no history to check, and the safety monitoring is unqualified.
The pursuit of economic benefits is the driving force for company and social behavior. Logically, cascading utilization, until the usable value of lithium-ion batteries is reduced below the maintenance cost, and then recycling of raw materials, is the maximum value of the battery. However, the actual situation is that early power lithium batteries have poor traceability and uneven quality and models. In the early stage, the risk of cascading use of batteries was high, and the cost of eliminating the risk was high. Therefore, it can be said that in the early stage of power lithium battery recycling, the probability of the battery is mainly to be recycled.
2. Method for extracting valuable metals from cathode materials
At present, the recycling of power lithium-ion batteries does not actually achieve the comprehensive recycling and reuse of various materials on the entire battery. The main types of cathode materials include: lithium cobalt oxide, lithium manganate, ternary lithium, and lithium iron phosphate.
Hydrometallurgy is a method of selectively dissolving cathode materials in waste lithium-ion batteries with suitable chemical reagents and separating metal elements in the leachate. The hydrometallurgical process is more suitable for recycling waste lithium-ion batteries with a relatively single chemical composition. It can be used alone or in combination with pyrometallurgy. It does not require high equipment and has low processing costs. It is a mature processing method and is suitable Recycling of small and medium-sized used lithium-ion batteries.