Research and development of innovative recycling technologies as well as energy- and material-efficient battery-life-cycles with closed material loops are essential for a climate-neutral future. Crucial materials for battery production, such as cobalt and natural graphite, are vulnerable to supply risks and have been classified as critical raw materials by the European Commission. In order to avoid supply shortages, battery scrap and production rejects has been identified as valuable secondary sources for critical materials. In addition, material recovery offers the possibility of positively influencing the CO2 footprint of battery production, since energy-intensive mining of raw materials can be reduced.
Within the scope of “Action” the ZSW conducts research on recycling of electrode rejects (running-in material, electrodes with coating defects, electrode-offcuts, etc.) using existing and yet to be developed efficient processes. Compared to battery scrap, electrode rejects are advantageous, since anode and cathode are still separated from one another. Time-consuming and costly processes, such as dismantling processes of battery packs, as well as eliminating contaminations that are intrinsically introduced by the respective counter electrode, electrolytes and their degradation products (SEI, SPI), solvents, separators and cell housings are being omitted. Particularly, the ZSW focuses on pilot-scale production and comparative characterization of electrode slurries, electrodes and battery cells, which are made from conventional powders, and semi-finished products and battery cells, that contain proportions of recycled material.