Ion battery recycling !!!

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New member
Jul 3, 2020

I was looking out for Li- Ion battery recycling technologies since I tried to start a Venture to build a small plant. I am from Europe where the collection system is working quite well, at least for electronic scrap where Li- Ions are included. Acutally the collecting companies are only allowed to trasnport Li- Ion cells when they are still contained in their original casing (e.g. in a notebook battery). In their naked version they need to be stored in special, sand filled bins which puts an additional cost and collection and storage.

After lots of dicussions and research I found out that most of the batteries are simply disposed on the landfill and no collector is really happy with them. In fact, they put additonal costs on them.

Industry and sience have looked at this topic occasionally. You can find some good papers and articles with Google searching for "Li- Ion battery recycling".

To sum up my conclusions up to now we have three key problems:

  1. Li- Ion batteries are considered as hazardous waste by some legislations. -> Expensive storage and transportation
  2. Li- Ion batteries actually only contain small amounts of profitable raw materials worth recovering (Ni and W) and the technologies change to the cheap materials
  3. Actual recycling processes are energy intensive since they either include a hydrometallurgical process or special chemicals
There are some efforts made to "refurbish" the anode and kathode material without distroying the matrix so it can be reused. Some research results are promising and I think thats the way to go.

A recycling plant should in my opinion have three key processes:

  1. Separate the good cells from the bad cells
  • Dismantle the packs
  • Get rid of all the unnecessary materials (Plastic, copper, etc.)
  • Test the cells and remark them
  • Additional quality check
  • Ready for resale
2. Separate cells based on Anode / Catode formulation
3. Dismantle the cells so the matrix is kept intact (mechnically) and refurbish it in a lithium salt bath or similar
4. Produce cells made of the refurbished material

Step number 3) is still a research topic but results look very promising.
Step number 4) is critical since in the past manufacturers have rejected recycled materials since they do not trust in their quality, even if it is approved and QS checked. This will only change if the cells prove themselves for years.

Anybody who is interested can start here with me on the discussion on

  1. How much would the investment be for each single manufacturing step be
  2. What are the current technologies available or under research
For this buisness case I would assume we get 10.000 18650 cells a day of which 4000 are tested as "reusable" and 6000 have to be recycled. I will post my first estimate tomorrow when I finished my spreadsheet.



Jan 16, 2019
To recycle the lithium component you will have to make a pretty complex environment where no Oxygen is present (like oil environment or something gas-based). The costs of that would exceed the cost of just using new materials to make a new cell.

So, my recycling technology: if no longer usable for anything (like under 100mAh capacity) gather them all, make a big camp fire, open the beers and have fun. Fireworks just like Patriots but cheaper.


Oct 8, 2016
Dont count on 40% good cells. You should count on 30% instead to get real numbers. Unless you plan on keeping cells with only 60% SOH left.

In real world i have seen numbers between 32-36% in general where they are 80% or better in health. And im not talking about small 200-1000 cell batches but random batches of 10 000 or more cells :)


Mar 2, 2019
Take in consideration the dendrite forming in the cells if you want to refurbish.
I would go with make a campfire and open a can of beer.

But.....BUT......B U T : in my endeavors/experience, some of them, they DO explode!
Some will give a nice powerful green yellow red purple flame, like a torch.
some will say puff some will do nothing.
Keep distance if your fire is hot, even at 2 meters they can hit you, yes it was even hurting a bit.
Oke enough fun.
Probably its is not legal!

Most country's in the eu have strict rules about starting a recycling company, especially for ~dangerous~ stuff.
Here in the Netherlands you must keep your business far away from living arias.
Know a thing or two about the law: explosive use!

I think the law is a better place to start to seek out your possibility.
I wish you all the best and good luck, but take the above in consideration(also on formed dendrites)

Best Igor

Jim Jr.

Jun 3, 2018
Somebody has been drinking the kool aid , I am for recycling and keeping the planet livable. I have been recycling since I was @7 years old, am 61 now.

The people on this board buy used batteries that they decide on what will give them the best bang for the buck, (pun intended ) :D They will not sue themselves for missing eye brows on occasion .

Any employee will cost a lot of money if injury occurs from being hazardous material classification . The recycling tech is already
out there . most went bankrupt. The cost of the labor and equipment and insurance costs do not come close to the raw
materials price that you get.
By adding the labor price alone, will be a lot higher the what the board members are paying now.
Unfortunately private business does not work for free and Government charges more for the same job

Unfortunately most people are brought up to believe that what ,"big brother - Big business " is gospel . Nearly all these hazardous
substances have been on this earth well before we thought of. I read somewhere that fresh lima beans contain cyanide and
eating @3-4 pounds of them ,is enough to kill you. The Gulf of Mexico had a oil rig spill a couple of years ago. Granted it had
big loss of animal life, But but they did not tell you a year later there was a bumper crop of shrimp. The oil eating bacteria had plentiful food supply which the shrimp had a buffet on them.


Sorry if I rambled