ReCell Center to Develop Better Recycling Processes

DoE Launches US’s First Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling R&D Center

To further its goal of moving toward closed-loop recycling for lithium-ion batteries, the U.S. Department of Energy has launched a research center, ReCell, at the Argonne National Laboratory.

Image © Argonne National Laboratory

To further its goal of moving toward closed-loop recycling for lithium-ion batteries, the U.S. Department of Energy has launched a research center, ReCell, at the Argonne National Laboratory.

The use of lithium-ion batteries has surged in recent years, starting with electronics and expanding into many applications, including the growing electric and hybrid vehicle industry. But the technologies to optimise recycling of these batteries has not kept pace.

It is hoped that the launch of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) first lithium-ion battery recycling center, will help the US grow a globally competitive recycling industry and reduce our reliance on foreign sources of battery materials.

“The ReCell Center will help expedite the pursuit to profitable lithium-ion battery recycling,”explained Jeff Spangenberger, director of the ReCell Center.

Daniel R Simmons, Assistant Secretary of DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) added: “ReCell brings our national laboratories, the private sector and universities together to develop advanced technologies that safely and cost effectively recycle lithium-ion batteries. ​This center will create jobs and create a national supply of lithium-based battery materials, as well as spur the adoption of an affordable electric vehicle economy.”

To spur development of new recycling techniques and new battery designs, DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) within EERE dedicated the ReCell Center today at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory.

The ReCell Center is a collaboration between Argonne; the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL); Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and several universities including Worcester Polytechnic Institute, University of California at San Diego and Michigan Technological University.

The center collaborators 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.

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