Recycling of battery components

Efficient energy storage systems are a key component for the energy transition. A central prerequisite is that energy storage systems must be convincing not only in terms of technical and economic aspects but also in terms of ecological sustainability. For this reason, the Fraunhofer THM/IKTS is working on concepts and technologies with which material and substance cycles can be closed and recovered materials and raw materials can be reused for battery cell production.  


Resynthesis of active materials for lithium-ion batteries

In the coming years, increasing amounts of battery materials from recycling processes are expected to be returned. Fraunhofer THM/IKTS is investigating the conditions under which these materials can be reused for resynthesis and the influence they have on the electrochemical performance of the battery cells. With regard to the necessary material and substance quality, above all purity, existing recycling processes are further developed specifically for resynthesis processes and evaluated ecologically and economically. In order to be able to return active materials to the process cycle of electrode production, it is also essential to be able to guarantee consistent product quality. In addition, the Fraunhofer THM/IKTS is evaluating which recycling routes exist outside the value-added chain of lithium-ion batteries.

© Fraunhofer IKTS
Adaptation of the recycling process for a subsequent resynthesis of the recovered active materials.
© Fraunhofer IKTS
Extensive characterization of the recovered battery materials and evaluation of the electrochemical performance.

Recycling-friendly design for lithium-ion battery cells

At the end of their first life cycle, battery systems are usually only dismantled mechanically and the individual cells are then sent for thermal recycling. Material recycling at cell level is practically not carried out. Also within the recycling process, it is clear that today's battery systems are not optimized for recycling in terms of design and materials. Against this background, the Fraunhofer THM/IKTS is working on the systematic development of design guidelines for the closed-loop oriented design and recycling-friendly construction of lithium-ion cells with liquid electrolyte and for solid state batteries. In addition, aspects of dismantlability and separability are considered, and maintenance and repair concepts are developed to extend the life cycle. The aim is to increase the recyclability of battery systems in order to avoid losses in the product and material cycle and to reduce negative environmental impacts of batteries.