The importance of design in lithium ion battery recycling-a critical review

Dana L. Thompson, Jennifer M. Hartley, Simon M. Lambert, Muez Shiref, Gavin D. J. Harper, Emma Kendrick, Paul Anderson, Karl S. Ryder, Linda Gaines, Andrew P. Abbott*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
316 Downloads (Pure)


Recycling is always seen as an end-of-pipe process returning as much material as possible into a circular economy. There is a growing school of thought that suggests product design should be an important step in the recycling process. While this review is aimed specifically at one technological product, it contains facets that are applicable to the recycling of any complex product. Decarbonisation of energy production necessitates a proliferation of efficient electrical storage and a significant proportion of this, particularly in automotive propulsion, will use lithium ion batteries. The scale of the projected electric vehicle market means that a circular economy model needs to be established while the scale of end-of-life product is still manageable to prevent a build-up of hazardous waste. This critical review investigates the issues of lithium ion battery recycling and discusses the aspects of pack, module and cell design that can simplify battery dismantling and recycling. It highlights not only Green aspects of elemental recovery, but also technoeconomic features which may govern the appropriate direction for recycling. It also shows that as cell design changes, the approach to recycling can become more efficient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7585-7603
Number of pages19
JournalGreen Chemistry
Issue number22
Early online date20 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the Faraday Institution (grant codes FIRG005 and FIRG006, Project website uk) for funding. LG also acknowledges the U.S. Department of Energy under contract DE-AC02-06CH11357 for funding. The authors would like to acknowledge the ReLiB research teams at Newcastle University and University of Birmingham for supplying the photographs used in Fig. 4. Thanks also to Hans-Eric Melin of Circular Energy Solutions for his dialogue with us around battery recycling rates.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution


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