A method to recycle hazardous materials from lithium ion batteries and replace them with safer, more robust batteries

Georgia Tech inventors have developed both a method to recycle the hazardous metals of lithium ion batteries and a new series of compounds to replace lithium ion for batteries.  To recycle the hazardous material, the inventors have developed a combined method to extract these materials from used lithium ion batteries in a way that has several advantages over current techniques.  This invention consists of a chemical digestion method and a magnetic separation method to enable the recycling of the high value, hazardous materials from the batteries.

Once the used lithium ion batteries are recycled, they can be replaced with solid-state batteries.  The inventors have created a new series of compounds to be used as solid-state electrolytes for solid-state batteries and ionic conductors for other electrochemical devices.  These compounds are sulfide-based electrolytes and are easier to produce, are more tunable, and are more stable against moisture and air than other solid-state electrolytes.  Batteries made using these compounds have the potential to increase energy density and offer greater safety than lithium ion batteries.

Solution Advantages

Recycling Method

  • Low cost – low energy use compared to other methods
  • Environmentally friendly – low emissions
  • High purity – accurate separation of high value metals from other components


Solid-State Batteries

  • Improved – increased safety and energy density
  • Simple – synthesis is less complicated compared to other solid-state electrolytes
  • Tunable – more precise control of synthesis
  • Stable – chemically stable under ambient conditions
Potential Commercial Applications
  • Batteries
  • Electric Vehicles
  • Electronics
  • Military
  • Medical
Background and More Information

Lithium ion batteries are widely used as the power source in many devices of different energy/power scales, ranging from high energy/high power applications.  Despite their desirable power, lithium ion batteries contain high value metals which can become environmental hazards if land-filled.  To handle the hazardous nature of these batteries, they need to either be recycled of replaced.