By Isabelle Havasy

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have developed a new recycling method for used electric vehicle (EV) batteries. The revolutionary process recovers 100% of the aluminum and 98% of the lithium contained in these batteries, while minimizing the loss of prized materials such as nickel, cobalt and manganese. The innovation lies in the use of oxalic acid. This organic acid, found within the vegetal kingdom, is harnessed to efficiently separate these metals.

Unlike traditional recycling methods, which dissolve all metals in an inorganic acid, this innovative technique recovers lithium and aluminum first. By reversing the extraction process, the researchers limited the waste of precious metals, which are used in the manufacture of new batteries. Based on hydrometallurgy conducted in an aqueous environment, the process offers an alternative to the inorganic chemicals normally used.

This advance could revolutionize the electric vehicle battery recycling industry by eliminating the use of costly and harmful chemicals. The researchers hope that this method can be deployed on a large scale in the years to come. It would contribute to more efficient and environmentally-friendly management of the materials contained in EV batteries.

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