The acceptance and long-term future of e-mobility is also related to the options for battery recycling. This is where the "Recycling and Green Battery" working group steps in. The goal must be an economical recycling of battery components in order to avoid losses in the product and material cycle and to reduce negative environmental impacts of batteries as well as geopolitical dependencies. Fraunhofer IKTS is developing various concepts with which material cycles can be closed and raw materials can be fed back into battery cell production.
Resynthesis of active materials for lithium-ion batteries
One focus of research activities is on the resynthesis of active materials from recovered raw materials, the so-called secondary raw materials. Fraunhofer IKTS is investigating the question of how such materials can be reused and what influence this has on the performance of battery cells. In this context, existing recycling processes are specifically adapted to ensure the necessary material purity of consistently high quality.
Recycling-friendly design for lithium-ion cells
At the end of their first life cycle, battery systems are usually only mechanically dismantled, and the individual cells are then sent for thermal recycling. Up to now, battery systems have not been optimized for recycling in terms of design and materials. Against this background, Fraunhofer IKTS is developing design guidelines for liquid electrolyte and solid-state batteries in order to implement a cycle-oriented design and a recycling-friendly construction. This also includes the consideration of dismantlability and separability.
Inline test systems for optimized use of resources
An end-of-life battery goes through many different process steps during the recycling phase until materials that have already been used can be reused. With the help of computer-aided techniques, these are analyzed on the basis of process data and optimized with regard to ecological and economic target variables. Fraunhofer IKTS designs sensor and digitization concepts in order to build up a comprehensive database across the entire value chain using special evaluation algorithms.
The processes established in industry for battery production are mostly experience-based and -optimized. In order to enable the scientific consideration of all process steps and thus to advance novel developments more efficiently, detailed data acquisition is inevitable. At the Battery Technology Application Center in Freiberg, suitable and inline-capable test methods based on quality assurance requirements are developed in conjunction with process experience. The high-tech pilot plants enable the causes of defects to be investigated with a view to reducing scrap and optimizing the use of resources.
The large variety of measurement technology used allows a novel combination of data and thus the determination of important correlations. Furthermore, the generated data form a basis for the future automatic control of the plants and thus the transition to Industry 4.0. This information is used to improve the influence of material and energy efficiencies as well as the output quality of the recyclates.
- Characterization of (resynthesized) active materials for lithium-ion batteries
- Battery cell design suitable for recycling
- Inline test systems and digitization concepts for optimized use of resources
- Ecological and economical evaluation of recycling processes