PhD: Recycling and Reuse of Lithium Ion Battery Anode Materials


Prof Gary Leeke

Lithium ion batteries are common energy storage devices in hybrid and electric vehicles due to their large energy density, long cycling life, and thermal stability in the field. In 2018 179,000 tonnes of batteries (cell level) reached end-of-life in the world. 83% of this came from portable devices such as laptops, smartphones and power tools with 20,000 tonnes coming from electric vehicles. 97,000 tonnes will be recycled of which 90% will come from portable devices [1]. Due to the low level of recycling of batteries from electric vehicles there is a need to develop technologies and recover materials to address this issue, especially if we are to consider the use of anthropogenic resources in the future.

This project will focus on the recycling and reuse of anode materials using supercritical fluid and ultrasound approaches. We will aim to recover graphite materials and assess their use, for example, in the development of membranes of new battery electrodes or as a source of exfoliated material for the fabrication of low cost graphene. We will also assess the use of the recovered graphite in a range of novel applications to maximise value of the recycling process.

This project feeds into the Faraday Institution funded Re-Lib project investigating the recycling of lithium ion batteries to facilitate a circular economy of such devices:

This PhD offers an exciting opportunity for applicants to develop expertise in the fields of batteries science, carbon science, recycling technologies and the use of anthropogenic resources and to be part of a large project team adding value to battery waste. Applicants should have a 2i or above or a Masters degree in Chemical Engineering, Chemistry or Materials Science.

Further details and how to apply here.

[1]. The lithium-ion battery end-of-life market 2018-2025, Analysis of volumes, players, technologies and trends July 2018 Circular Energy Storage