HomeMarket NewsMiningNew technique allows recycling components of solid-state batteries over and over again

New technique allows recycling components of solid-state batteries over and over again

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β€œDefects in batteries, such as voids and cracks caused by mechanical stress on the solid-state electrolytes, may block lithium-ion transport pathways and lead the battery to short circuit,” said Yi-Chen Lan, doctoral student in chemical engineering and first author on a paper explaining the recent findings and published in the journal ChemSusChem.

β€œTo recycle electrolytes that have undergone mechanical degradation, we use cold sintering to re-densify the microstructures and reprocess composite electrolytes by mixing ceramics with polymers and lithium salts.”

The idea for cold sintering the liquid electrolytes needed in solid-state batteries came about in 2018, when a postdoctoral scholar in the lab led by Enrique Gomez, professor of chemical engineering in the Penn State College of Engineering, accidentally broke a sample of liquid electrolyte during an experiment.

β€œHe decided to reprocess the electrolyte sample through cold sintering, and we found out it worked just as well after being reprocessed,” Gomez said. β€œWe didn’t realize at the time that this was a concept we could exploit, and that was the birth of this paper.”

According to the researchers, reprocessing and reusing the electrolytes leads to lower energy consumption and a lesser environmental impact over time, which in turn promotes the viability and sustainability of all-solid-state battery types.

In another paper published in MRS Communications, the researchers cold sintered a composite that goes into capacitors, which are important components of electric vehicles. In the experiments, they combined the ceramic barium titanate with Teflon or polytetrafluoroethylene.

β€œOur work in MRS Communications demonstrates the potential for recycling materials that will be crucial for the electrification of transportation, and therefore the reduction of greenhouse gases,” said Hongtao Sun, co-corresponding author on the paper.

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