|Patent Cooperation Treaty||Published Application||WO2018169830||09/20/2018||2012-074|
Currently Li-ion battery recycling returns less than 10% of the original battery value. In addition, much of the non-recycled components are discarded in landfill. Li ion battery technology is expected to grow to a $30B industry in the next 5-10 years. In large part this will be driven by the introduction of electric vehicles. A conservative estimate for the number of electric vehicles by 2015 is one million. To address this challenge, investigators at University of California at Berkeley have developed a method of producing pre-lithiated graphite from recycled Li-ion batteries. This offers an opportunity to introduce novel materials into Li ion battery technology at a very large scale. For example, a typical electric vehicle battery uses a 30kWhr battery, which will need 30kg of anode material. In the case of graphite, this could represent a cost opportunity of ~$500 per vehicle. This invention can provide graphite at a minimum savings of 10% by increasing the performance of the graphite through re-manufacturing. For the first time, this innovation allows for the extraction of the components of a Li-ion battery for complete recycling, and in the case of the anode, re-manufacturing of graphite. This is accomplished by opening cells at a specific state of degradation and under specific conditions. The unique process allows for a specific level of pre-lithiation to be reached and achieving a suitable anode material for specific applications of Li-ion batteries, e.g. high power, high energy, novel anodes, etc. The unique feature of this invention is that the graphite is both re-manufactured (and thus re-used) as an anode, as well as a source of pre-lithiation.