Sustainable Lithium Production

Project number: 
UA Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering
Academic year: 
Lithium-ion batteries are rapidly becoming the primary form of commercial energy storage, but the United States contains less than 0.5% of the Earth’s known lithium supply. Recycling of these products is vital to provide a dependable and sustainable source of lithium for the growing renewable energy economy.

The design employs a lithium-ion battery recycling process that recovers more than 95% of valuable materials, resulting in lower emissions and energy usage than competing methods. The team developed a breakdown method through controlled-atmosphere shredding under carbon dioxide and separating to increase throughput. Metal ions from the batteries’ cathodes are removed through chemical leaching. From the ionic solution, cobalt, lithium, nickel and manganese are isolated and ready for reuse in battery manufacturing.

Get started and sponsor a project now!

UA engineering students are ready to take your project from concept to reality.