Issue 12, 2022

Benign solvents for recycling and re-use of a multi-layer battery pouch


This article describes a process for the repair and re-use of an aluminium-containing pouch used as an outer casing for a Lithium-ion battery cell. As Lithium-ion batteries become more widespread, particularly with their increasing use in the automotive industry and in consumer electronics, recycling them is becoming an important challenge. Current recycling approaches for Li-ion batteries focus on reclamation of the high-value metals found in the electrodes. However, in order to minimise the environmental impact of the battery it would be optimal to be able to reclaim and re-use other components. Since many battery cells consist of an electrode stack held inside an outer pouch, we herein describe the structure of such a pouch and suggest methods for selectively stripping and repairing the inner layer, allowing the material to be re-used. We investigated the use of three different solvents (xylene, limonene, and 2,2,5,5-tetramethyloxolane) for the selective stripping of the polypropylene (PP) layer on the inner side of a pouch material. Each solvent was tested on both ‘pristine’ pouch material (as obtained from the manufacturer) and pouch material that had previously been part of a battery. For ‘used’ pouch material, the overall thickness of the film decreased from 150–160 μm to 70–80 μm in under 1 h for all three solvents (corresponding to the removal of the PP layer), whereas for the ‘pristine’ pouch higher temperatures and longer times were required; this result is suggestive of some polymer degradation during the life of the pouch. Following the removal of the PP layer, virgin PP was subsequently added to renew the multi-layer structure.

Graphical abstract: Benign solvents for recycling and re-use of a multi-layer battery pouch

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Article information

Article type
01 Mar 2022
03 May 2022
First published
04 May 2022
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Mater. Adv., 2022,3, 4973-4981

Benign solvents for recycling and re-use of a multi-layer battery pouch

J. E. Marshall, B. Middleton, D. Gastol, R. Sommerville, C. R. McElroy, E. Kendrick and V. Goodship, Mater. Adv., 2022, 3, 4973 DOI: 10.1039/D2MA00239F

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