Scientists have been able to make new lithium batteries from second-hand

Lithium-ion batteries are used all over the world, and although they have been

with competition, for example, with sodium andmagnesium, they are still necessary because of their high density and capacity. The problem is this: this metal is actually hard to get. Almost 85% of its reserves are located in the so-called Lithium Triangle in the geographical area, which is located on the borders of Argentina, Bolivia and Chile. In addition, it seems that demand will grow rapidly over the next few decades due to the introduction of electric vehicles. Each such machine has about 7,000 batteries for cell phones, so the reuse of their various components has become a matter of paramount importance.

As part of a new project at the University of Cordoba(Spain) and the University of San Luis (Argentina), a method was found for recycling graphite in these devices - a material located on the negative terminals of batteries, whose function is to store and conduct lithium. As one of the leaders of the study, Professor Alvaro Caballero, emphasized, the researchers were able to eliminate the impurities of the graphite used, reorganize its structure and activate it for new use. Interestingly, this material accounts for a quarter of the total weight of the lithium battery, so when it is processed, you can get 25% of the entire energy storage system.

Another important aspect of this studyis that in the new recycled battery they were able to abandon cobalt, which is widely used in the mobile device industry. As one of the leading authors of the study, Fernando Luna, pointed out, “cobalt is a toxic element that is more expensive than others, such as manganese and nickel, which were used in this study.” Moreover, this is one of the so-called blood minerals, the production of which, like the production of coltan, is associated with ammunition and mines in conflict zones.

According to the findings presented in the study,The results are comparable, and in some cases better than batteries made from commercial graphite. Some of the tests performed show that, in the best case, the battery capacity remains stable after undergoing a hundred charging cycles, which corresponds to approximately annual performance.

Despite these promising results and the factthat the tests were carried out on the full elements of a real battery, so far all this has turned out on a small scale and in the laboratory, so the standardization of this manual disposal process is still a long way off.

Currently, over 90% of lead componentsbatteries used in conventional vehicles are reused. If environmental friendliness and the democratization of electric vehicles are chosen, a large-scale recycling of lithium batteries should also occur.