Li-ion Battery Recycling Technology to Boost Circular Economy
- 07 Jun 2023
- 6 min read
Why in News?
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in India has taken a significant step towards promoting a circular economy by transferring a cost-effective Li-ion battery recycling technology to nine recycling industries and start-ups.
- The technology was developed under the "Centre of Excellence on E-waste management" at the Centre for Materials for Electronics Technology (C-MET), Hyderabad, in collaboration with the Government of Telangana and industry partner M/s Greenko Energies Pvt. Ltd., Hyderabad.
- This initiative is part of the Mission Lifestyle for the Environment (LiFE) under the "Promote circularity campaign."
What is the Recently Invented Recycling Technology?
- The recycling technology for Li-ion batteries is designed to efficiently process and recover valuable materials from discarded batteries.
- The process begins by soaking the batteries in a solution to extract the valuable metals.
- These metals are then transformed into their pure forms, ready to be reused in making new batteries or other useful applications.
- This technology ensures that over 95% of these valuable metals are recovered from batteries.
- By recycling the batteries, we can reduce the need for mining new resources and contribute to a more sustainable environment.
- The recycling technology for Li-ion batteries plays a crucial role in promoting a circular economy.
What is a Li-ion Battery?
- A lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery is a type of rechargeable battery.
- Li-ion batteries use an intercalated (Intercalation is the reversible inclusion or insertion of a molecule into materials with layered structures) lithium compound as one electrode material, compared to the metallic lithium used in a non-rechargeable lithium battery.
- The battery consists of an electrolyte, which allows for ionic movement, and the two electrodes are the constituent components of a lithium-ion battery cell.
- Lithium ions move from the negative electrode to the positive electrode during discharge and back when charging.
- Electronic gadgets, Tele-communication, Aerospace, Industrial applications.
- Lithium-ion battery technology has made it the favourite power source for electric and hybrid electric vehicles.
- Disadvantages of Li-ion Batteries:
- Long charging times.
- Safety issues as instances of batteries catching fires have been there.
- Expensive to manufacture.
- While the Li-ion batteries are seen as sufficiently efficient for applications such as phones and laptops, in case of EVs, these cells still lack the range that would make them a viable alternative to internal combustion engines.
What is Lithium?
- Lithium (Li), sometimes also referred as ‘White gold’ due to its high demand for rechargeable batteries, is a soft and silvery-white metal.
- Lithium can be extracted in different ways, depending on the type of the deposit — generally either through solar evaporation of large brine pools, or from hard-rock extraction of the ore.
- Lithium is an important component of electrochemical cells used in batteries of EVs, Laptops, Mobiles etc.
- It is also used in thermonuclear reactions.
- It is used to make alloys with aluminium and magnesium, improving their strength and making them lighter.
- Magnesium-lithium alloy - for armour plating.
- Aluminum-lithium alloys - in aircraft, bicycle frames and high-speed trains.
- Major Global Lithium Reserves:
- Chile > Australia > Argentina are top countries with Li reserves.
- Lithium Triangle: Chile, Argentina, Bolivia.
- Lithium Reserves in India:
- Preliminary survey showed estimated lithium reserves of 14,100 tonnes in a small patch of land surveyed in Southern Karnataka’s Mandya district.
- Other potential sites:
- Mica belts in Rajasthan, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh.
- Pegmatite belts in Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
- Rann of Kutch in Gujrat.