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Work Package Focus: Innovative and Low Environmental Impact Hydrometallurgy (WP3)

Primary Objective of WP3:

The primary objective of the WP3 is to develop a hydrometallurgical-based approach that is simultaneously able to deal with the broad range of chemistries found in battery wastes (e.g., NMC, LCO…) and related production scraps, which also have reduced levels of environmental impact, particularly from the perspective of associated carbon footprint.

Collaborative efforts:

In order to achieve this goal, partners from Aalto University (Finland), Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden), Metso:Outotec (Finland), CEA (France) and Orano (France) have joined forces to explore different aspects of the recycling processes. This includes the use of wastes as an alternative reducing agents to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) during hydrometallurgical leaching, selective solution purification and separation to maximise valuable metals recoveries, direct recycling methods for different spent battery materials and pilot scale testing of the most promising technologies. Work to date has already demonstrated that the novel reductants under investigation provide comparable performance to H2O2 on both the lab and pilot scale, thereby potentially allowing for the treatment of more diverse battery waste black mass chemistries and a reduction in the carbon footprint of battery recycling processes.

This provides additional detail on the objectives and collaborative efforts within Work Package 3 (WP3) of the RESPECT project:

Environmental Considerations: A key focus is on achieving reduced environmental impact, particularly in terms of the associated carbon footprint of the recycling processes.

Use of Wastes as Reducing Agents: Partners are investigating the use of wastes as alternative reducing agents to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) during hydrometallurgical leaching. This highlights the focus on more sustainable and alternative methods for leaching processes.

Selective Solution Purification and Separation: The project includes efforts to develop selective solution purification and separation techniques to maximise the recovery of valuable metals. This shows the emphasis on efficiency in the metal recovery process.

Direct Recycling Methods: Exploring direct recycling methods for various spent battery materials is part of the project. This could involve finding innovative ways to reuse or reintegrate components of spent batteries.

Pilot Scale Testing: The partners are conducting pilot-scale testing of the most promising technologies. This step is crucial for validating the feasibility and scalability of the developed approaches.

Progress and Achievements: Excellent progress is being made towards a predictive model that will allow hydrometallurgical process parameters to be tuned depending on the input chemistry of the spent battery waste to be processed.

Demonstrated Performance: Work conducted to date has shown that the novel reductants being investigated exhibit comparable performance to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) both at the laboratory and pilot scales.

Implications: Findings so far suggest that these novel reductants could potentially enable the treatment of a more diverse range of battery waste black mass chemistries. Additionally, it indicates a potential for the reduction in the carbon footprint associated with battery recycling processes.

In summary, WP3 is making strides in developing an environmentally friendly hydrometallurgical approach for handling diverse battery waste chemistries, with promising results in terms of reducing the carbon footprint of battery recycling processes. The collaborative efforts involve a range of partners and cover multiple aspects of the recycling process.

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