The future of current technologies such as electric mobility or the storage of renewable energies largely depends on the development of suitable batteries and accumulators. However, at the same time, battery production leads to high environmental impacts in the field of primary raw material extraction and resource scarcity. It is therefore desirable to recycle the batteries as completely as possible. Yet, present recycling processes for current battery technologies such as lithium-ion batteries are complex and sometimes associated with high costs and environmental impacts. Depending on the technology, only a fraction of the materials is recovered. Little is yet known about the recyclability of future post-lithium battery technologies.
Existing life cycle assessments (LCA) and studies on battery recycling processes primarily focus on the various processes and not on the different battery compositions that are recycled. Therefore, this project shall quantify the potential environmental impacts of the recycling of different battery compositions by LCA.
The objective is to create process models of the most promising recycling processes based on literature data and personal visits to recycling companies. In the course of the project, the models will be applied to different battery compositions (focusing on Li-Ion) and – if considered feasible and reasonable – also to new battery technologies. The results will then help to assess the environmental impact of the recycling of various battery inputs by LCA.