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article imageEnergy Department announces opening of battery recycling center

By Karen Graham     Feb 15, 2019 in Technology
Chicago - The Department of Energy (DOE) announced on Friday a $15-billion, three-year research and development project that aims to reclaim and recycle critical materials (e.g., cobalt and lithium) from lithium-based battery technology,
As Digital Journal reported in January, the research and development center (R&D Center) is to be managed by the Argonne National Laboratory together with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
In the announcement today, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Daniel Simmons, said, “Partnering with the private sector, National Laboratories, and several universities, the Battery Recycling Prize and R&D Center will develop innovative technologies that recover and use recycled materials."
A goal of the ReCell Center is to drive toward closed-loop recycling  where materials from spent bat...
A goal of the ReCell Center is to drive toward closed-loop recycling, where materials from spent batteries are directly recycled, minimizing energy use and waste by eliminating mining and processing steps.
Argonne National Laboratory
“These efforts will reduce our dependence on foreign sources of critical materials, strengthening America’s economic growth and energy security.” Calling it a "national security issue," Simmons also said this project is an attempt to catch up with China and other countries that manufacture and recycle the vast majority of lithium-ion batteries, including those shipped from the U.S.
The new recycling center
In touting the opening of the ReCell Center at Argonne National Laboratory, outside of Chicago, the Energy Department noted that recycling technologies have not kept pace with the surge in the use of lithium-ion batteries in recent years.
The whole point of opening the ReCell Center is to develop the technology to drive the U.S. toward closed-loop recycling, where materials from spent batteries are directly recycled, minimizing energy use and waste by eliminating mining and processing steps.
Samples of battery material are prepared for analysis with a scanning electron microscope (SEM) at t...
Samples of battery material are prepared for analysis with a scanning electron microscope (SEM) at the Manufacturing Engineering Research Facility at Argonne.
Argonne National Laboratory
Circular Energy Storage, a consultancy that specializes in energy storage and the circular economy says the total amount of recycled lithium could reach 5,800 to 30,000 tons of Lithium Carbonate Equivalent (LCE) by 2025. But as the report also mentions, the volume of material available for recycling is limited due to poor collection systems.
Our dependence on other countries for metals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, and graphite, as well as finished batteries, “undermines our national security” because the source countries are not always close allies, Simmons said, according to the Associated Press.
The ReCell Center officially opened
The DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) within EERE dedicated the ReCell Center today, (Friday), at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory.
Jeff Spangenberger, the director of the ReCell Center says “The ReCell Center will help expedite the pursuit to profitable lithium-ion battery recycling." The center will focus on four key research areas to enable profitable lithium-ion battery recycling for industry adoption:
*A direct cathode recycling focus will develop recycling processes that generate products that go directly back into new batteries without the need for costly reprocessing;
*A focus to recover other materials will work to create technologies that cost effectively recycle other battery materials, providing additional revenue streams;
*Design for recycling will develop new battery designs optimized to make future batteries easier to recycle; and
*Modeling and analysis tools will be developed and utilized to help direct an efficient path of R&D and to validate the work performed within the center.
“This is an exciting time as applications for energy storage continue to expand,” said Argonne Director Paul Kearns. “Together, DOE and Argonne have made pivotal discoveries in advanced materials, chemistry, and engineering that have made batteries safer and longer-lasting."
"We are proud to pioneer the first scaleup and pilot test facilities to enable cost-effective battery recycling, helping to drive U.S. prosperity and security.”
More about lithiumion battery, Recycling, DeCell, R&D center, closedloop recycling
 
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