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Journal Article

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Lithium cobalt oxide; Recovery; p-toluene sulfonic acid; Spent lithium-ion battery; Kinetics; Leaching


Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) are widely used in consumer electronics and electric vehicles. In terms of environmental restrictions and circular economy, proper treatment of spent LIBs is of great significance for achieving sustainable development. In this study, organic p-toluene sulfonic acid (PTSA) was employed to recycle valuable Li and Co elements from the spent LIBs for production of battery raw materials. Operation parameters such as PTSA concentration, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) concentration, solid-to-liquid ratio, leaching temperature and time, were systematically investigated. Under the optimal conditions (0.9 vol% H2O2, 1.5 mol L-1 PTSA, 30 g L- 1 solid-to-liquid ratio, 80 °C, and 60 min), while the leaching efficiencies of spent LiCoO2 for Li and Co was 95 and 93% respectively, the leaching efficiencies of commercial LiCoO2 was nearly quantitative. In addition, the selective precipitation of Co-rich compounds in cooled leachate allowed an effective separation of Co from the mixture. The high recovery yield of Co3O4 and Li2CO3 demonstrated the great potential of the PTSA-assisted leaching method in metal recovery of the spent LIBs for practical applications. Overall, this proposed recovery process is simple, efficient, and environmentally friendly and is of vital importance for rational treatment of spent LIBs.

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