Toward sustainable and systematic recycling of spent rechargeable batteries
Ever-growing global energy needs and environmental damage have motivated the pursuit of sustainable energy sources and storage technologies. As attractive energy storage technologies to integrate renewable resources and electric transportation, rechargeable batteries, including lead–acid, nickel–metal hydride, nickel–cadmium, and lithium-ion batteries, are undergoing unprecedented rapid development. However, the intrinsic toxicity of rechargeable batteries arising from their use of toxic materials is potentially environmentally hazardous. Additionally, the massive production of batteries consumes numerous resources, some of which are scarce. It is therefore essential to consider battery recycling when developing battery systems. Here, we provide a systematic overview of rechargeable battery recycling from a sustainable perspective. We present state-of-the-art fundamental research and industrial technologies related to battery recycling, with a special focus on lithium-ion battery recycling. We introduce the concept of sustainability through a discussion of the life-cycle assessment of battery recycling. Considering the forecasted trend of a massive number of retired power batteries from the forecasted surge in electric vehicles, their repurposing and reuse are considered from economic, technical, environmental, and market perspectives. New opportunities, challenges, and future prospects for battery recycling are then summarized. A reinterpreted 3R strategy entailing redesign, reuse, and recycling is recommended for the future development of battery recycling.