With the increasing scarcity of fossil fuels and the environmental problems caused by their use, the development of electric vehicles appears to be an alternative to meet the challenges of our societies, particularly that of soft mobility, with lower emissions of carbon dioxide and fine particles, and the growing demand of our societies, particularly with regard to new, cleaner mobility. This growth is today mainly supported by Li-ion technology or sometimes by Na-ion technology. These technologies use large quantities of critical or at least strategic metals. At the end of their life, these batteries will join deposits already made up of batteries for mobile systems (mobile phones, computers, etc.). In view of the location of the primary deposits of these metals and their predicted shortage, their recycling and reuse are considered strategic and constitute new sources of supply of secondary materials. These new sources of supply are characterised by research:
On the second life of batteries by exploiting the residual storage capacity (70-80% of energy remaining in car batteries at the end of their life),
On the extraction of metals of interest, in particular copper, cobalt, nickel and lithium in the form of salts (carbonates and hydroxides) by physico-chemical treatment processes of pyrometallurgy and/or hydrometallurgy.
The RECYBATLI project, the recovery of materials of interest by regeneration
In contrast to pyrometallurgical and hydrometallurgical processes, the "RecyBat-Li" project explores another way of recovering battery materials. The project focuses on the reconditioning of materials from the NMC (nickel-manganese-cobalt) cathode and the graphite of the anode to give these materials a second life. When a battery reaches the end of its life, questions arise about the condition of its components, particularly the cathode. This project proposes to study the feasibility of regenerating cathode materials and graphite from end-of-life batteries for reuse as raw materials in new electrochemical applications. The project focuses on 18 650 cells (pre-industrial format). Firstly, it will be necessary to address technological issues for the safe extraction of battery materials. Secondly, the project will aim to develop processes for the regeneration of materials from end-of-life batteries. To complete and validate the project approach, a life cycle assessment (LCA) will be conducted as well as cost and criticality analyses of the raw materials studied.