Life cycle assessment of hydrometallurgical recycling for cathode active materials

Zheng Liu, Jarom G. Sederholm, Kai Wei Lan, En Ju Cho, Mohammed Jubair Dipto, Yashraj Gurumukhi, Kazi Fazle Rabbi, Marta C. Hatzell, Nicola H. Perry, Nenad Miljkovic, Paul V. Braun, Pingfeng Wang, Yumeng Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As battery usage keeps growing due to a boom in the electric vehicles market, battery recycling has become a crucial issue. Cathode active material is the most valuable component of the battery and attracts researchers’ attention. Much research has been focused on finding the optimal condition of a certain hydrometallurgical recycling process for cathode active material. However, there is no comprehensive comparison between different hydrometallurgical recycling processes. In this research, life cycle assessment is adopted to evaluate the environmental concerns, which is a major reason for using batteries and recycling batteries, of different hydrometallurgical recycling processes for three widely used cathode active materials: NMC, LFP, and LCO. The environmental impact of each process is assessed based on the ReCiPe method using standardized processes and unified reactors. As a result, the most effective hydrometallurgical recycling processes for NMC, LFP, and LCO have been found. Moreover, the most effective recycling processes lower the environmental impact by over 50% compared to the average of those evaluated. Also, the ultimate comparison between different cathode active materials shows that LFP recycling has a lower environmental impact than NMC and LCO, considering specific capacity and lifespan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number233345
JournalJournal of Power Sources
StatePublished - Oct 1 2023


  • Cathode active materials
  • Environmental impacts
  • Hydrometallurgical recycling
  • Li-ion battery recycling
  • Life cycle assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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