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REGENERATION OF CATHODE MATERIALS FROM USED LI-ION BATTERIES VIA A DIRECT RECYCLING PROCESS
With the exponential rise in manufacturing and usage of Li-ion batteries (LIBs) in the last decade, a huge quantity of spent LIBs is getting scrapped every year. Along with the efforts to making more capable and safer batteries over the last three decades, there is an immediate need for recycling these scrapped batteries. Most of these batteries typically use lithium manganese oxide (LMO), lithium cobalt oxide (LCO), lithium iron phosphate (LFP), and lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC) cathode chemistries, and developing a technique towards regenerating these cathodes can ensure huge economic and environmental benefits for the present and future. This research focuses on a set of direct regeneration techniques with the goal of regenerating used cathode materials to be reused in LIBs. Used Apple iPad2 batteries with LCO chemistry and Nissan LEAF batteries with a combination of LMO-NMC chemistry are selected for this research. The scope of research can be divided into two parts as liberation/separation of cathode material and regeneration of liberated cathode. The liberation/separation process is carried out with the aid of ultrasonication and organic solvents with the objective being keeping the morphology and chemical composition intact for a better quality of the material. The regeneration process uses a hydrothermal technique with variations of parameters. 1:1 and 1:5 molar ratios between cathode material and a lithium lithiation agent are chosen to understand the effects of the molar ratio on cathode regeneration. In addition, the effects of processing solution (water vs. a solvent) are examined by replacing water with TEG. The effects of heat treatment on cathode regeneration are also investigated by observing phase changes of materials at different temperatures.