Overall, the recycling process uses 5.9MJ/kg, equivalent to the energy in about three quarters of a cup of petrol for a kilogram of cathode material. This is half the energy required by other lithium batttery recycling processes.
The next step is to optimise this process for industrial scales and Chen's team is planning to work with battery companies in Asia. A key step is the cathode harvesting, which is currently done by hand, and thi swould be automated.
The team has filed a provisional patent on this work and is aiming to license it through the university's Innovation and Commercialization Office
A further step is to broaden the process to other types of cathodes and anodes. "The goal is to make this a general recycling process for all cathodes," said Chen.