Increased electrification of vehicles has increased the use of lithium-ion batteries for energy storage, and raised the issue of what to do with post-vehicle-application batteries. Three possibilities have been identified: 1) remanufacturing for intended reuse in vehicles; 2) repurposing for non-vehicle, stationary storage applications; and 3) recycling, extracting the precious metals, chemicals and other byproducts. Advances in repurposing and recycling are presented, along with a mathematical model that forecasts the manufacturing capacity needed for remanufacturing, repurposing, and recycling. Results obtained by simulating the model show that up to a 25% reduction in the need for new batteries can be achieved through remanufacturing, that the sum of repurposing and remanufacturing capacity is approximately constant across various scenarios encouraging the sharing of resources, and that the need for recycling capacity will be significant by 2030. A repurposing demonstration shows the use of post-vehicle-application batteries to support a semi-portable recycling platform. Energy is collected from solar panels, and dispensed to electrical devices as required. Recycling may be complicated: lithium-ion batteries produced by different manufacturers contain different active materials, particularly for the cathodes. In all cases, however, the collecting foils used in the anodes are copper, and in the cathodes are aluminum. A common recycling process using relatively low acid concentrations, low temperatures, and short time periods was developed and demonstrated.

Publication Date


Publication Type




MTI Project



Lithium-ion batteries, Recycling, Repurposing, Forecasting, Simulation


Computer Engineering | Electrical and Computer Engineering | Engineering | Mechanical Engineering | Transportation