Extraction of metals from spent lithium-ion batteries through hydrometallurgical battery recycling 

In many lithium-ion battery recycling process flowsheets, spent batteries are dismantled, and the parts containing the electrodes, such as battery cells, get crushed or shredded to produce a powdery fraction referred to as “black mass.” 

Black mass comprises electrode coatings (metal oxides and carbon) and, therefore, contains value elements such as graphite, manganese, cobalt, nickel and lithium. Black mass requires further processing to isolate manganese, cobalt, nickel and lithium salts. This is conventionally done through hydrometallurgy, where metals from the black mass are dissolved and then chemically separated by precipitation or solvent extraction.

Solvay’s portfolio of metal-specific extractants, including CYANEX® 936P reagent for lithium, can be used to assemble solvent extraction circuits in a cascade and recover all valuable metals from spent lithium-ion batteries. Our reagents, backed by our technical capabilities and experienced teams, enable the recovery of critical metals from various lithium-ion battery sources, such as those powering electric vehicles, e-bikes, power tools, electronic devices or stationary storage stations. 

Hydrometallurgical battery recycling in action

In the illustrative flow diagram below, value metals such as cobalt, nickel and lithium are recovered from a black mass leached liquor (pregnant leach solution, or PLS) using a series of solvent extraction circuits. After extraction and removal of nickel from the solution, CYANEX 936P® can be used to recover and concentrate lithium for the production of lithium carbonate or hydroxide.

lithium solvent extraction graph
Potential solvent extraction flow diagram for recovery of value metals from spent lithium-ion battery

 

For more information on Solvay’s reagents for metal extraction

Contact our experts

recharging-and-recycling-electric-vehicle-batteries

A circular future for hybrid and electric vehicle batteries

lithium-ion-battery-recycling-process-recharging

Consortium benefits