First update of the year 👐
Let’s dive into the activities carried out by our French partner, the Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives (CEA).
Through its various laboratories, the CEA is involved in the development of several process steps of the #BATRAWproject, including End-of-Life battery deactivation, the separation of battery materials and the synthesis of new cathode materials by co-precipitation.
In the first part, abusive tests were carried out on an abusive test platform (LAP) located at CEA in Grenoble. These tests were used to assess the amount of energy emitted during thermal runaway of a cell when deactivated: a nail penetration test was used to initiate the Thermal Runaway phenomenon in the cell and to compare the energy emitted during the reaction. Also, the temperatures at the cell surface were measured during the phenomenon.
When it comes to wet battery material separation, the CEA has also received several black mass samples from the project partner MTB. Characterization work has been carried out using XPS and SEM to precisely characterize the surfaces of black mass particles and the various species present in the material. These characterizations will enable them to specify the operating parameters required for effective separation of graphite and cathode materials in the rest of the project.
Finally, studies on black mass leaching have demonstrated the possibility of combining selective manganese separation with black mass dissolution, thereby considerably reducing the number of downstream hydrometallurgical steps and, consequently, the cost of the overall process. This concept has been validated on commercial reference materials with no trace of Manganese remaining in the leachate and more than 95% leaching efficiency for Nickel, Cobalt, and Lithium. Additional work will be carried out during 2024 to validate this approach on real materials.