Lithium ion battery bioleaching optimization

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bar graph of bioleaching cobalt from cathode of lithium ion battery
Biolixiviant (spent supernatant) from Gluconobacter oxydans was applied to lithium ion battery cathode powder at 1.5% pulp density for 24 hours, at 30ºC for the standard condition. Each subsequent bar denotes a change from the standard condition for the variable noted: time, temperature or pulp density. Fe(II) was added to each sample as a reducing agent for improved cobalt recovery. Cobalt percent recovery values were determined by X-ray fluorescence (XRF).

CMI scientists at Idaho National Laboratory conducted this research.

Achievement:
Processing parameters of bioleaching time, temperature and pulp density on Co recovery from lithium ion battery cathode powder were optimized. Optimal conditions were found for temperatures between 20-70°C and incubation times >18 hours. Increasing pulp density (solid mass : liquid mass) from 1.5% to 3% and 6% led to 35% and 65% reduction in leaching efficiency, respectively.

Significance and Impact:
The results provide guidance for starting conditions for future scale-up research

Approach:

  • Apply optimized conditions to simulated heap-leaching process
  • Test mixed lithium ion battery waste materials