Low-carbon footprint diluents in solvent extraction for lithium-ion battery recycling†
This study investigated the influence of the diluent on the extraction properties of three extractants towards cobalt(II), nickel(II), manganese(II), copper(II), and lithium(I), i.e. Cyanex® 272 (bis-(2,4,4-trimethylpentyl)phosphinic acid), DEHPA (bis-(2-ethyl hexyl)phosphoric acid), and Acorga® M5640 (alkylsalicylaldehyde oxime). The diluents used in the formulation of the extraction solvents are (i) low-odour aliphatic kerosene produced from the petroleum industry (ELIXORE 180, ELIXORE 230, ELIXORE 205 and ISANE IP 175) and (ii) bio-sourced aliphatic diluents (DEV 2138, DEV 2139, DEV 1763, DEV 2160, DEV 2161 and DEV 2063). No influence of the diluent and no co-extraction of lithium(I), nickel(II), cobalt(II), manganese(II) and aluminum were observed during copper(II) extraction by Acorga M5640. The nature of the diluent influenced more significantly the extraction properties of manganese(II) by DEHPA as well as cobalt(II) and nickel(II) by Cyanex® 272. Life cycle assessment of the diluents shows that the carbon footprints of the investigated diluents followed the following order: (ELIXORE 180, ELIXORE 230, ELIXORE 205) from petroleum industry > kerosene from petroleum industry > diluent produced from tall oil (DEV 2063) > diluents produced from recycled plastic (DEV 2160, DEV 2161) > diluents produced from used cooking oil (DEV 2138, DEV 2139). By taking into account the physicochemical properties of these diluents (viscosity, flashpoint, aromatic content), the extraction properties of Acorga® M5640, DEHPA, Cyanex® 272 in these diluents and the CO2 footprint of the diluents, this study showed DEV2063 and DEV2139 were the best diluents. A low-carbon footprint solvent extraction flowsheet using these diluents was proposed to extract selectively cobalt, nickel, manganese, lithium and copper from NMC black mass of spent lithium-ion batteries.