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lithium-ion battery recycling process

The lithium-ion battery recycling market is mainly driven by the spread of the electric car market.


The growing market

According to analysts, approximately 705,000 tons of end-of-life Li-ion batteries are expected to be available by 2025. This number is expected to reach 9 million tons per year by 2040.

Currently, only a small part of lithium-ion batteries is recycled, and the rest goes to landfills.

The total lithium-ion battery recycling market was approximately 93,800 tons in 2019, which will grow to 459,369 tons by 2025, with a CAGR between 2019 and 2025 of 30%.

The value of the raw materials in LIBs is approximately $ 315 million, which will reach $ 1.137 billion by 2025 and $ 23.812 billion by 2040.

10000 tons

end-of-life Li-ion batteries

expected in 2025

0 tons

lithium-ion battery recycled

in 2019

$ 1000 billion

value of the raw materials

expected In 2040

  • The chemical process

    AraBat aims to implement an innovative and sustainable industrial process to recover precious metals from spent lithium batteries (LIBs).
    The extraction of metals from LIBs is normally obtained through a pyrometallurgical process, consisting of grinding batteries, followed by the removal of the iron by magnetic means and by a treatment in furnaces at a temperature between 700 and 1200 °C.
    An alternative to this rather expensive and polluting process is the hydrometallurgical process, where minerals are passed in streams of water, generally on copper plates amalgamated with mercury.
    The latter process involves using chemical reagents such as nitric or sulfuric acid and develops at significantly lower temperatures than the traditional pyrometallurgical process, thus reducing the formation of dioxins which are the main cause of pollution.
    Secondly, this process is characterized by efficient separation of metals and low energy consumption.

  • The innovation

    The system we propose is considered an innovation of the typical hydrometallurgical process involving a different chemical reagent.
    This is citric acid, a weak organic acid found in citrus fruits that is a perfect substitute for common strong inorganic acids, such as H2SO4, HCl, and HNO3.
    Those strong acids release secondary pollutants (mostly SO3, Cl2 and NOx) on an industrial scale, representing potential health and safety risks.
    Another strength of our process is to be identified in using agro-food waste, especially orange peel, containing flavonoids, phenolic acids, and cellulose to be converted into sugars for the metal extraction process.


The last great added value lies in the outputs we intend to bring to the market: composts of nickel, cobalt, manganese, and lithium (and other materials), precious metal compounds widely used in numerous production sectors, and interesting business objects.

Our approach guarantees multiple advantages, both from an environmental point of view and from that of competitiveness.

The environmental advantages are the recycling of agro-food waste, the recycling of waste from electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE, typically containing lithium batteries), and the reduction in the supply of critical raw materials; thus, supporting the development of a circular economy in which resources are kept “alive” for as long as possible. The competitive advantage can be consolidated through the green philosophy of the process and the positive publicity that this guarantees. 

The laboratory-scale process at STAR Facility Center, a technology hub led by prof. Matteo Francavilla and prof. Massimo Monteleone, affiliated with the University of Foggia.