Battery recycling technologies

The production of lithium-ion batteries is a growing market. But the more lithium-ion batteries are produced, the more batteries will have to be recycled. Battery manufacturers are dealing with two different types of recycling:  

  • end-of-life (EOL) recycling of batteries that are no longer used  
  • recycling of production scrap during the manufacturing process. 

It is estimated that in the EU alone, around 1,100,000 batteries will reach their end-of-life in 2030. Among this scrap, there are valuable and critical raw materials like graphite, manganese, cobalt or lithium compounds. These can now be reintroduced into the production cycle, thus making the production of lithium-ion batteries much more efficient.

The quantity and quality of the recovered material depends on the choice of lithium battery recycling technology. With On's battery recycling solutions, you can be sure that you lose very little valuable material, making your battery production process as efficient as possible. For this purpose, On provides you with various lithium battery recycling machines and systems, developed and configured for your specific requirements.  

In addition to end-of-life recycling, we offer innovative solutions for direct recycling of production scrap during the battery production process. Here, our system takes the production scrap, cuts the foil into small pieces and delaminates the cathode or anode material to send it directly back to the coating process. 

Direct scrap recycling of lithium-ion batteries

During the production process of lithium-ion batteries, there is also a lot of production waste. This occurs mainly during the coating process, for example, when sorting out defects such as pinholes, inclusions and other coating faults, due to edge trimming or rejects during the finishing process. In total, about 10% (or considerably more depending on the process) of the coated cathode or anode foils end up as rejects and have to be recycled. This is especially a problem when it concerns the valuable active materials, i.e. the NMC or LFP of the cathode foils or the graphite-silicon mixtures of the anode foils.  

Currently, this foil scrap is collected from battery manufacturers by 3rd party recycling companies. On has developed a new process for direct scrap recycling of lithium-ion batteries where the scrap can be recycled at the production site and fed directly back into the production cycle. This makes production more efficient, and the cathode and anode material scrap can be almost completely recycled without impurities and be reintroduced into the coating process. Customers also save themselves the effort involved in external recycling. 

Direct recycling of the active materials

On’s process of direct recycling during the electrode production: one process can be applied to both anode or cathode material.

The direct inhouse recycling process of the electrode scrap consists of two steps: cutting and delamination. 


1. Cutting: To prepare for the delamination process, the Rotoplex cutting mill is the machine of choice. It has to be operated with inert gas both for safety reasons and to protect the material. The material can be fed directly via a feed chute or from coils via unwinding devices. Alternatively, batch feeding of the collected scrap (e.g. in barrels) is possible. The Rotoplex is available in different sizes and can achieve throughputs from approximately 250 kg/h to 3,800 kg/h. The cross-scissor-cut rotor developed by Hosokawa Alpine and proven over many years also ensures a very low energy input into the material and makes the lithium battery recycling machine very efficient. 


2. Delamination: The next process step is delamination of the cut electrode foil. Electrode material and carrier foil are prepared for separation. The adhering active material is removed from the carrier foil. 


The quality of the battery recycling process and the recovered material depends on the clean shredding and cutting of the carrier foil.

Test centre for battery recycling solutions 

To find the best battery recycling technology for you, we will be happy to carry out trials with your electrode foils in our test centres. Together with you, we validate your process with tests. This includes  tests or general feasibility as well as scale-up trials. So you can be sure to obtain lithium battery recycling machines that best suit your product and your requirements.

Direct scrap recycling of the cathode foil materials

In the recycling of cathode foil materials such as NMC or LFP there is additional point to consider: Due to the formation of toxic carcinogenic substances during processing, inert processing and containment solutions are necessary for the recycling of the cathode materials. Additionally, the equipment for this process has to be wear-protected. Validation of this process is carried out in the test centre.

End-of-life: Battery Black Mass recycling

When a battery reaches the end of its life, the raw materials it contains can be recycled. This end-of-life recycling is an environmentally sustainable and economically viable battery recycling technology, as it reduces the need for new raw materials. 

After collection, the battery is dismantled, shredded and processed to produce the “black mass”. The black mass of the anode contains high amounts of graphite, whereas the black mass of the cathode consists of lithium, manganese, cobalt and nickel. End-of-life recycling extracts these valuable materials from the black mass so they can be re-used in the production of new batteries.

On provides systems for EOL battery recycling plants to delaminate the aluminium or copper foils, i.e. to detach the cathode or anode material from the supporting film. The mill of choice for black mass battery recycling is the UPZ fine impact mill which is available in various sizes and with various types of grinding elements. It separates the black mass from the foils and prepares the material for sifting and classification. An alternative is the AFG fluidised bed opposed jet mill. It grinds the battery material without damage to the material and gently separates the black mass to avoid impurities. Due to the toxicity of the material, On provides specific containment solutions

Machines for battery recycling

Whether you are interested in black mass recycling or direct recycling of lithium-ion batteries, On can provide you with the right machines and systems for your specific process. Get in touch with us and find out how you can benefit from our battery recycling solutions!

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