A Critical Review and Analysis on the Recycling of Spent Lithium-Ion Batteries

Weiguang Lv, Zhonghang Wang, Hongbin Cao, Yong Sun, Yi Zhang, Zhi Sun

Research output: Journal PublicationReview articlepeer-review

755 Citations (Scopus)


Recycling of spent lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) has attracted significant attention in recent years due to the increasing demand for corresponding critical metals/materials and growing pressure on the environmental impact of solid waste disposal. A range of investigations have been carried out for recycling spent LIBs to obtain either battery materials or individual compounds. For the effective recovery of materials to be enhanced, physical pretreatment is usually applied to obtain different streams of waste materials ensuring efficient separation for further processing. Subsequently, a metallurgical process is used to extract metals or separate impurities from a specific waste stream so that the recycled materials or compounds can be further prepared by incorporating principles of materials engineering. In this review, the current status of spent LIB recycling is summarized in light of the whole recycling process, especially focusing on the hydrometallurgy. In addition to understanding different hydrometallurgical technologies including acidic leaching, alkaline leaching, chemical precipitation, and solvent extraction, the existing challenges for process optimization during the recycling are critically analyzed. Moreover, the energy consumption of different processes is evaluated and discussed. It is expected that this research could provide a guideline for improving spent LIB recycling, and this topic can be further stimulated for industrial realization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1504-1521
Number of pages18
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Environmental impact
  • Hydrometallurgy
  • Pretreatment
  • Recycling
  • Spent LIBs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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