Project: Advanced CRMs Recycling from spent LFP Batteries

Acronym ACROBAT (Reference Number: JTC-2021_214)
Project Topic Globally, olivine-type lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4 , LFP) batteries have gained a considerable share within the lithium ion battery (LIB) market (23-36% in 2015-2016). However, no dedicated, economically-viable, industrial-scale recycling process exists for LFP type LIBs in Europe or elsewhere. Nevertheless, LFP batteries contain three critical raw materials (CRMs), namely 0.8 wt.% lithium, 2.5 wt.% phosphorus and 16 wt.% graphite on battery cell basis. Efficient recycling of LFP LIBs is also required from an environmental point of view as the electrolyte contains toxic agents. ACROBAT aims to recycle end-of-life LFP LIBs via efficient, innovative and environmentally-friendly processes and separation techniques to recover a maximum amount of EU-CRMs as high-value products and base metals (ferrous and Cu/Al fractions). The specific ACROBAT objectives are to research, develop and validate (i) LFP-dedicated pre-treatment (i.e., shredding, mechanical separation) of EoL LFP LIBs with reduced cross-contamination; (ii) continuous, contact-free, in-line characterisation of LFP black mass; (iii) extractive recovery of electrolyte materials (i.e., conducting salts, organic solvents); (iv) recovery of graphite by froth flotation; (v) recovery of lithium as battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate by HCl-based hydro-/solvo metallurgy; and (vi) direct recycling of LFP black mass by tandem hydrometallurgy-hydrothermal synthesis. The sustainability of the ACROBAT flowsheet is evaluated by a life cycle assessment. Overall, the ACROBAT consortium (VITO, ENEA, Fraunhofer ILT, KU Leuven, Accurec) aims to recover 90% of the EU-CRMs (i.e. Li, P and graphite) and recycle LFP cathode material, graphite and electrolyte, respectively up to 5.4, 6.2 and 4.4 kt/y by 2030 in Europe. This would represent an overall value of 180 M€. ACROBAT's Industrial Advisory Board (Umicore, Aurubis, Bebat, Sorbat and Electrocycling) will catalyse the industrial valorisation of the project results.
Network ERA-MIN3
Call ERA-MIN3 Joint Call 2021

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek Coordinator Belgium
2 KU Leuven Partner Belgium
3 Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development Partner Italy
4 Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. Partner Germany
5 Accurec Recycling GmbH Partner Germany