Lithium-ion batteries have revolutionized electronics and enabled an accelerating shift toward clean energy. These batteries have become an integral part of 21st century life, but we're at risk of running out before 2050. The main elements used in each battery—lithium, nickel, and cobalt metals as well as graphite—are increasingly scarce and expensive, and there is little environmental or fair-labor oversight of some of the remaining international supply chains.
"We're getting to the point that recycling batteries will be a requirement," said project leader Gao Liu, a senior scientist in Berkeley Lab's Energy Technologies Area and a member of the Berkeley Lab Energy Storage Center. "If we don't stop burning them and throwing them in the trash, we will run out of resources in the next ten years. It's just impossible to keep up with the number of batteries the market is demanding otherwise. There's just not enough cobalt, not enough nickel—we have to recycle."
A battery made with Quick-Release Binder simply needs to be opened, placed in room temperature alkaline water, and gently shaken. The separated elements are easily filtered out of the water and air-dried.
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