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SBIR Phase II: A Direct Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Process Yielding Battery-Grade Cathode Materials

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1951107
Agency Tracking Number: 1951107
Amount: $750,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: MI
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2017
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-06-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2022-05-31
Small Business Information
1872 Pratt Dr Ste 1500
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

The broader impact/commercial potential of this SBIR Phase II project is to significantly improve the economics of lithium-ion battery (LIB) recycling, while minimizing its environmental impact. Direct recycling uses less energy and generates less pollutive waste and fewer emissions than alternative recycling approaches, while simultaneously producing more valuable products. The proposed project will advance the development of a recycling technology that will lower LIB cost, reduce the reliance of LIB production on the mining of expensive virgin metals, create a local supply of LIB materials, and facilitate the adoption of clean energy products (e.g., electric vehicles, grid storage). This SBIR Phase II project proposes to develop a cost-effective and scalable direct recycling process at a pilot-scale level. The proposed project will study LIB deactivation, component separation, purification, and regeneration processes that can be economically reproduced on a large scale. For example, a battery deactivation process that is quicker, safer, and cost-effective can be used in other waste management processes as well to discharge batteries. This project also will enable a better understanding of the key parameters of electrode extraction and purification processes able to preserve electrode chemistry and morphology. By focusing on the characterization of structure, morphology and electrochemical performance of the recycled materials, this project will lead to a more profound understanding of the effect of relithiation and heat treatment conditions on the quality of recycled cathode materials. Together, these studies will advance the knowledge and understanding of not only the process, chemistry, and mechanics behind the direct recycling process but also process optimization for a production-scale LIB recycling operation. 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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