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STTR Phase I: A Direct Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Process Yielding Battery-Grade Cathode Materials

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1819982
Agency Tracking Number: 1819982
Amount: $225,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: MI
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2017
Award Year: 2018
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2018-06-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2019-05-31
Small Business Information
2200 Kraft Drive Suite 1200-B
Blacksburg, VA 24060
United States
DUNS: 080691971
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Nolan Schmidt
 (607) 372-6436
Business Contact
 Nolan Schmidt
Phone: (607) 372-6436
Research Institution
 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
 Zheng Li
155 Otey St. NW
Blacksburg, VA 24061
United States

 Nonprofit College or University

This Small Business Technology Transfer Phase I project advances a cost-effective and scalable direct recycling method for producing battery-grade cathode materials from end-of-life (EOL) lithium-ion batteries. The commercialization of the proposed direct lithium-ion battery recycling technology will lower the energy consumption and emissions associated with battery production, reduce demand for raw battery materials and decrease lithium-ion battery manufacturing cost. Using directly recycled materials instead of raw battery materials will diminish or even avoid the negative environmental impacts from mining and processing ores and from disposal of hazardous waste. Reducing battery cost will facilitate the implementation of more efficient electrified vehicles, thus reducing petroleum demand and vehicle emissions. Finally, research on the end-of-life lithium-ion battery cathode, on the direct recycling process and on the recycled materials will advance the understanding of intercalation chemistry in nonaqueous and aqueous media and of electrode degradation during electrochemical cycling. The intellectual merit of this project is to advance the direct recycling technology through the design and demonstration of a scalable electrochemical flow system capable of non-destructive relithiation and the optimization of post treatment operation for the recovered materials. The electrochemical flow system is capable of restoring the lost lithium in the EOL cathode material at any state of charge (SOC) and can be scaled to a commercially viable size. The cathode materials recovered in the proposed direct recycling process retain the same structure and morphology and exhibit equivalent electrochemical performance compared to the commercial virgin cathode materials. The recovery of high-value cathode materials substantially improves the profitability of lithium-ion battery recycling and is a key element of the business plan. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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