Rice University researchers literally have a solution to deal with the glut of used lithium-ion batteries left behind by the ever-increasing demand for electric vehicles, cellphones and other electronic devices.
The Rice lab of materials scientist Pulickel Ajayan used an environmentally friendly deep eutectic solvent to extract valuable elements from the metal oxides commonly used as cathodes in lithium-ion batteries. The goal, researchers said, is to curtail the use of harsh processes to recycle batteries and keep them out of landfills.
The solvent, made of commodity products choline chloride and ethylene glycol, extracted more than 90 percent of cobalt from powdered compounds, and a smaller but still significant amount from used batteries.
“Rechargeable battery waste, particularly from lithium-ion batteries, will become an increasingly menacing environmental challenge in the future as the demand for these through their usage in electric vehicles and other gadgets increases dramatically,” Ajayan said.
Read more at Rice University