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Study concludes recycled materials from end-of-life lithium-ion batteries outperform new materials

The study was published earlier this fall in Joule.

November 29, 2021

Recycled materials recovered from end-of-life lithium-ion batteries can outperform new commercial materials, according to research published in Joule, an energy research journal, in October. Yan Wang, a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts, led the research, which used materials recovered from a recycling process that Battery Resourcers Inc. of Worcester is commercializing.

Wang also is the chief scientist and a co-founder of Battery Resourcers, and his earlier research into recycling technologies received multiple patents that WPI licensed to the company.

According to WPI Today, the researchers used physical tests, imaging and computer simulations to compare new cathode materials to those recovered from end-of-life electric vehicle batteries.

“As demand grows for lithium-ion batteries, it will be important to recycle materials from used batteries, especially batteries from electric vehicles,” Wang told WPI Today. “Battery manufacturers want to know that recycled cathode materials are not inferior to new cathode materials. This research shows that recycled materials can electrochemically match or outperform pristine, state-of-the-art cathode materials from tier 1 suppliers.”

Wang collaborated on the paper with researchers from A123 Systems, Battery Resourcers, Argonne National Laboratory, Rice University, Brookhaven National Laboratory and the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC). USABC is supporting his work.