Recycling of metals from NiMH batteries : development of liquid-liquid selective extractions based on ionic liquids

Abstract : Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries are currently dominating the market of energy storage in hybrid electric vehicles. 1 billion cells are estimated to be produced each year. In their end-of-life, these electronical wastes exhibit low recycling rates, despite the fact that NiMH batteries contain high amounts of valuable and strategic metals. Two main metal families coexist as an intermetallic compound in negative electrodes: transition metals (TM) (Ni, Co, Mn and Fe) and rare earth elements (REE) (La, Ce, Nd and Pr). Among TM, cobalt exhibits the highest criticality rate. Indeed, natural ores will not cover the increasing cobalt demand linked to emerging technologies. REE produced at more than 97 % in China are at the centre of European Union’s preoccupations. To tackle economic and environmental issues, this project, supported by the labex CEMAM is a partnership between the company Recupyl® and the academic laboratory LEPMI. It aims at investigating on low environmental impact routes for the recycling of metals present in real spent NiMH batteries. This requires the replacement of volatile organic compounds by ionic liquids, respecting the principles of ‘green chemistry’. Based on innovative extraction and recovery processes of elements by hydrometallurgy and electrochemistry, we propose a flowsheet for the valorisation of metals from those batteries.
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Matthieu Gras. Recycling of metals from NiMH batteries : development of liquid-liquid selective extractions based on ionic liquids. Material chemistry. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018GREAI053⟩. ⟨tel-01913113⟩

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