Recycling study on Electric Vehicles cells with focus on solid-state technologies

June 2023

Involved partners: LCE

The European Commission indicates for EV batteries that by 2030 95% of valuable metals 70% of lithium content will have to be recovered. Several recycling technologies are being both developed at industrially-relevant scale and extensively investigated in the research, to maximise battery parts/materials recovery other than metals. Even though similar to lithium-ion batteries, solid-state batteries add challenges to their recycling: solid electrolyte (if oxides-based) would require hydrometallurgical recovery with extensive use of strong leaching agents, however providing opportunities for higher share of cell recovery, whereas lithium metal is currently not recyclable due to its stickiness hampering the recovery of other battery components as well.

  • Objective: The objective of the work is to focus on battery recycling technologies, providing comprehensive technology review and suggesting what the best technology for SAFELiMOVE battery might be in the early future.
  • Research: Thresholds and indications from European Commissions indicated in the new Battery Directive proposal (2022); literature research to understand state of the art and future developments of lithium-ion and solid-state batteries recycling.
  • Result: Recovery thresholds by the Battery Directive proposal:
    Li-ion batteries 2025 2030
    Recycling efficiency 65% 70%
    Cobalt recovery 90% 95%
    Nickel recovery 90% 95%
    Lithium recovery 35% 70%
    Copper recovery 90% 95%

    Different technologies (hydrometallurgy the most promising) studied and developed at industrial stage to treat lithium-ion batteries to recover components other than metals. Solid-state batteries recycling will add more challenges: electrolyte recovery requires strong leaching agents, whereas lithium metal appears to be not recyclable during to its stickiness that hampers, in addition, also other components recovery.

  • What will the results be used for: Basis for further researches, that will be focused more on hotspots: potential replenishment of used batteries instead of recycling, solid-state batteries materials recycling potential.
  • Impact: Know-how on recycling performances of different EV electric batteries, to provide tools for decision making in battery designing, if recycling wants to be maximised

Read the public report here