Recycling of the cathodes, based on carbon nanotubes and conducting polymers, from spent rechargeable Li batteries

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Coordinator of the project:

National institute of Materials Physics (NIMP), Mihaela Baibarac

Partners list :
Overall Objectives

The overall objective of this project is the recycling of the cathodes, from spent RLIBs of the type (-) Li/ the PDPA/CNs composite (+), by the fabrication of new electrodes containing the CPd/CNs, CPd/OCN, CPd/CNs/PVDF & CPd/Biochar/ CNs composites (CPd and OCN stand for CP in doped state and oxidized CN, respectively) as active materials for supercapacitor (SC) cells and RLIB. The specific objectives of the project are the development of a technology to separate the constituents of the cathodes from spent RLIBs to prepare new electrodes for SC cells and RLIBs; the preparation of the CPd/CNs, CPd/OCN, CPd/CN/PVDF & CPd/Biochar/CNs composites and the optimization of electrodes containing above composites for SCs, to reach the discharge capacitance values comparable with those reported for the cells which use SWNTs functionalized with PDPA doped with H3PW12O40 anions as electrode materials; and the usage of both conventional and unconventional methods (electrospinning) for the optimization of electrodes containing the CPd/CN composites for RLIB.

Context: why is this action necessary?

Development in the field of rechargeable Li batteries (RLIBs) and supercapacitors (SCs) has experienced unpreceded growth as a consequence of the increasing demand for electric vehicles and of various devices such as wind turbines, hybrid energy storage systems for the installation of photovoltaic devices, etc. However, end-of-life (EoL) battery components induce a new environmental challenge, requiring their collection, disposal, and recycling/reuse to avoid further environmental pollution, preserve the environment, and access critical natural resources. Consequently, new energy paradigms are emerging in both Africa and Europe in recognition of the need to develop the EoL management of storage products without delay. In this respect, the focus lies on conceiving and fabricating functional low-cost materials from EoL components with the aim of integrating them into key electronic components for societal and industrial development

What are the concrete actions that will be implemented?

The RCLIB project will be implemented by a trans-disciplinary (industrial and academic) consortium with experts from Europe, Mediterranean Partner Countries in the fields of nanotechnology, energy storage and waste recycling. In this context, the expertise of the partner teams is in the field of synthesis / characterization of different kind of organic/macromolecular compound/ inorganic nanomaterials (1D, 2D, 3D), monitoring and assessment of organic & inorganic contaminants and environmental impact assessment and energy storage system technology development.

Beyond producing relevant knowledge on technologies and impacts in key areas of energy storage, RCLIB will perform an environmental benefit analysis and socio-economic impacts to make accessible both existing knowledge and results from novel, innovative research and development on recycling technologies of cathodes from spent RLIB for future energy storage devices, considering the business plan and exploitation strategies.

What is the expected impact of the project?

RCLIB will have an impact on improving the quality of life of rural communities in remote and isolated regions of Africa.

The expected impact consists of the development of a new technology for the separation of the spent cathodes constituents at EoL; the access to recyclable technology with impact on environment, for the beneficiaries from AU and EU ; the development of new SC cells & RLIB, using recycled compounds from spent RLIB; c) formation of new experts in the field of energy storage and wastes management to aid the transition from linear to circular economy and the knowledge/technological transfer, which will strengthen the cooperation between the participating institutions, having a direct benefit on the energy security of each country, enabling waste management in the field of energy storage.