CMI Technologies with Cobalt and Lithium

CMI researchers have created many invention disclosures and filed dozens of patent applications. This page lists technologies related to cobalt and lithium, which also are on the complete list of CMI invention disclosures. These are available for licensing. For CMI technology transfer, licensing or commercial inquiries, please contact Stacy Joiner at the Ames Laboratory 515-294-5932 or

  • Electrochemical Separation System for the Efficient Co-recycle of Li from Li Ion Batteries
    This technology aims to include an electrochemical process as key element in the hydrometallurgical recovery of value metals (i.e. Co, Mn, and Li) from Li ion batteries. This concept consists in the inclusion of an electrochemical separation step based on the use of a selective membrane and a re-generable carbon source for the production of high purity Li2CO3.
  • Selective Composite Membranes for Lithium Extraction from Geothermal Brines
    Patent issued February 2022 #11,253,820 link to pdf
    This is a selective composite membrane for lithium extraction from geothermal brines that demonstrates high capacity and selectivity while operating under aggressive conditions.
  • Methods of Separating Lithium-Chloride from Geothermal Brine Solutions
    Patent issued April 23, 2019, #10,266,915 link to pdf
    link to licensing information
    This invention affords the quantitative extraction of rare earths present in phosphoric acid streams produced in phosphoric acid plants.
  • High Performance Magnets with Abundant Rare Earth Elements
    Patent application filed | link to licensing information
    This invention discloses a new alloy system with promising permanent magnet properties, one which contains none of the expensive rare earth elements (Nd, Dy, Sm) found in current high performance magnets. 
  • Method for Manufacturing of Samarium Cobalt and Neodymium Iron Boride Magnets
    Patent application filed
    A method for manufacturing high coercivity samarium cobalt and neodymium iron boride magnets that is compatible with additive manufacturing and requires no polymer binder. Samarium cobalt oxide and neodymium iron boride particles are the feedstock for the magnet, which can be deposited into near-net shape parts using additive manufacturing techniques such as electrophoretic deposition (EPD). The innovative part of the process is the critical conversion of these oxide nanoparticles which have been deposited into near net-shape parts directly to permanent magnets using calcium vapor during annealing.
  • Stabilization of Magnetic Soft Phase in a Hard Magnetic Matrix
    To develop a super-strong magnet with high energy density (energy product) is essential for reducing volume of magnets and electronic devices for highly efficiently energy conversions. This super-strong magnet needs to have a large magnetic coercively and remnant magnetization, giving the optimum energy product, (BH)max. Conventional hard magnets, especially those based on SmCo alloys, have very high coercivity, but modest magnetization values. This innovation increases magnetic remanence without sacrificing the coercivity; the hard magnet should be coupled with a soft magnetic soft phase with high remnant magnetization.
  • Cerium, Cobalt and Copper Alloy doped with Tantalum and/or Iron as a Permanent Magnet Material
    Patent issued May 2023 #11,649,537 link to pdf
    A series of 1:5-type cerium, cobalt and copper alloys doped with Iron and Ta which retain or/and improve magnetic characteristics of typical 1 :5-type isotropic permanent magnets and represent a more economical and more favorable alternative to Sm-based magnets with respect to both material and processing costs. The purpose of this invention is to develop a "GAP MAGNET" that utilizes widely available and inexpensive Ce, which is a more affordable alternative to critical rare-earths, which makes the magnet significantly cheaper and less supply dependent, and yet successfully performs within the niche of energy products that exists between present-day low-flux and high-flux magnets.
  • Cerium - Cerium-rich – Rare Earth, Cobalt and Magnesium Alloy doped with Iron as a Permanent Magnet Material
    Patent application filed
    A series of 1:3-type cerium, cerium-rich rare earth cobalt and magnesium alloys doped with iron that retain and/or improve magnetic characteristics of typical commercial high-flux isotropic permanent magnets and represent economically more favorable alternative to rare-earth-based magnets with respect to both material and processing costs.  The purpose of this invention is to develop a Co-lean “GAP MAGNET” that also utilizes widely available and inexpensive Ce as a more affordable alternative to critical rare-earths, making the magnet significantly cheaper and less supply dependent.
  • One Step Synthesis Process for the Preparation of Samarium-Cobalt Alloy Powder and Nickel-Cobalt Alloy Powder
    Patent application filed
    An new manufacturing process to prepare samarium-cobalt and nickel-cobalt alloy powders for a variety of purposes. The processes uses the electrochemical co-reduction of mixed oxides in a molten salt electrolytic bath. The alloy powder, after removal of the adherent salt, can be directly used for the fabrication of magnets into desired shapes. The actual experimental process involves (i) soaking the mixed oxides in molten calcium chloride salt and (ii) initiating the subsequent reduction of the oxide(s) by applying a suitable potential.
  • SmCo5-based Compounds Doped with Fe and Ni for High-Performance Permanent Magnets
    Patent application filed
    The innovation is based on SmCo5 (in the hexagonal CaCu5-type structure) with three non-equivalent atomic sites: Sm1-(1a), Co1-(2c), Co2-(3g) with 6 atoms per formula unit. More generally, the invention comprises specific distribution of Co, Fe, and Ni atoms in transition metal (TM) 2c and 3g nonequivalent atomic sites.
  • Reengineered Sorbents for Li Extraction from Ambient Temperature Geothermal Brine
    LiCl · 2Al(OH)3 · nH2O, LDH has been identified as an effective sorbent for selective extraction of lithium from brines.  However, LDH is suitable for only high temperature (possibly 80-125 °C) brine solution. Our concept is to use novel type sorbents in a column extraction.
  • Sulfuric Acid Baking and Leaching of Samarium-Cobalt Magnet Swarf
    Current processes recover cobalt content from Sm-Co magnet swarf through smelting operations or simply discard the material as waste. The described process provides an alternative to current practices and enables additional revenue streams by the recovery and production of salable samarium oxide. This process also has the advantage of safely disposing metalworking fluid contained in rare earth magnet machine waste, which can be troublesome from a technical and environmental perspective.
  • Lithium Extraction from Geothermal Brine Solutions via Nanoengineered Polymer Composite Sorbent Bead
    The invention relates to a lithium sorbent for extracting lithium.
  • Recovery of Cobalt from End-of-Life Lithium Batteries with Supported Membrane Solvent Extraction
    Cobalt is a critical material, substantially and increasingly used in the lithium ion batteries, which are considered as an important secondary resource for the extraction and recovery of cobalt. The recycling and reuse of the cobalt from lithium ion batteries is important for the sustainability of the clean energy industry.
  • Selective Extraction of Lithium from Hot Leachate Sulfate Stream Through a Precipitation Process 
    The invention provides a method to selectively extract lithium from leachate solution.
  • Selective Extraction of Lithium from Lithium Containing Brines
    The invention provides a method for extracting lithium from lithium containing solutions.
  • Discovery of Sm0.5Ce0.5Co4Cu: Permanent magnet with 50 percent reduced Sm and 20 percent reduced Co as compared to SmCo5
    New permanent magnet compositions with 50 percent reduced Sm and 20 percent reduced Co as compared to SmCo5, which provide cheaper and stable gap magnet.
  • Lithium Sulfate Concentration from Lithium Rich Leachate with Forward Osmosis and Nanofiltration
    The invention provides a method for concentrating lithium sulfate containing leachate solution from non-traditional mining operations.
  • Extracting of Lithium from Batteries via Accelerated Plating
    An electrochemically driven technique to extract metallic lithium from electrolyte phase of used lithium-ion battery. The process takes advantage of lithium plating, a critical mechanism that degrades lithium-ion batteries, to accelerate the extraction process and concentrate lithium from the electrolyte for subsequent collection and recycling.
  • Separation of Metals from Recycled Lithium-ion Battery Material Using Ion-exchange
    A method has been developed that allows for the separation of value metals from recycled Li-ion battery scrap cathode material using ion-exchange. This method can be used for different feed streams and is not specific to a single battery chemistry, which will allow for its utilization as battery technologies continue to evolve.
  • New High Performance Magnet - Zr and Fe-alloyed Ce2Co17
    Novel solution to the use of rare earth elements in the composition of strong permanent magnets. The invention provides a high performance magnet using abundant non-critical elements to allow for the generation of magnetic anisotropy without neodymium, samarium or dysprosium.
  • Reduced Cost and Criticality Competitor to SmCo Magnets
    The technology provides a reduced cost competitor to SmCo magnets.
  • Magnetic Field Assisted Fast Charging of Lithium Batteries
    This invention describes a method for fast charging of lithium ion batteries. A major limitation of Li-ion batteries for use in many applications, including electric vehicles, is the timescale for normal charging. Although fast charging is possible, over-oxidation in charging is common as electrodeposition of the anodic surface occurs. This effect is known as lithium plating and reduces the battery capacity and performance severely by leaching active lithium from the electrolyte and depositing a metallic film over the anode. This invention describes applying a magnetic field that reduces lithium plating during fast charging of Li-ion batteries, which has the capability to increase the lifetime of fast-charged lithium ion batteries by hundreds of cycles.
  • Methods of Separating Metals from a Lithium Ion Battery Leachate
    Metal impurities, such as iron or aluminum, in lithium-ion battery black mass leachate solutions are known competitive ions in extraction methods for cobalt and nickel, and their removal is critical in isolating high purity metals. This process enables removal of ~90% of the iron and aluminum from the leachate, and these precipitates can be collected by normal filtration. Minimal loss of cobalt, nickel manganese and lithium concentrations were observed in cobalt and nickel-rich leachates. The process does not require pH shock (strong base) minimizing cost and waste.
  • Novel Systems and Methods of Reductive-acid Leaching of Spent Battery Electrodes to Recover Valuable Materials
    Systems and methods of a novel hydrometallurgical process to perform reductive-acid leaching and separation of constituent compounds from solid material generated from the electrodes of lithium-ion batteries, or other source material containing target high-value materials.
  • Process Method for Reductive Leaching and Recovery of Materials from End-of-life Lithium-ion Batteries
    Process method for reductive leaching and recovery of materials from end-of-life lithium-ion batteries
  • Methods of Producing a Metal by Electrochemical Processing of a Sulfoarsenide Compounds and Related Electrochemical Cells
    Arsenic handling and immobilization is a critical issue in the mining of sulfoarsenide minerals, due to arsenic’s toxicity to the environment. Significant amount of can be present in Cu, Zn, Ni, and Co minerals. Cobaltite (CoAsS) for example, is one of those sulfides from which Co can be mined as the primary mineral. However, extraction of Co from it generates equivalent mass of arsenic per extract cobalt. To unlock the domestic cobalt production, efficient arsenic immobilization techniques are needed. Compared to traditional hydrometallurgical and pyrometallurgical processes, an electrochemical method is proposed to efficiently immobilize arsenic from cobaltite. An electrochemical cell was assembled to promote the immobilization of arsenic, in the presence of iron, via the precipitation of crystalline scorodite (FeAsO4 · 2H2O).