pp 1–9 | Cite as

A Citric Acid/Na2S2O3 System for the Efficient Leaching of Valuable Metals from Spent Lithium-Ion Batteries

  • Guilan Gao
  • Xin He
  • Xiaoyi Lou
  • Zheng Jiao
  • Yaoguang Guo
  • Shuai ChenEmail author
  • Xingmin Luo
  • Suyang Sun
  • Jie Guan
  • Hao Yuan
Urban Mining: Characterization and Recycling of Solid Wastes


Recycling of valuable metals from spent lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) appears inevitable for both environmental protection and resource recovery. In the present study, an efficient hydrometallurgical leaching of Co and Li from cathode materials of spent LIBs using a citric acid/sodium thiosulfate (Na2S2O3) system is explored. The effects of citric acid and Na2S2O3 concentrations, leaching time, temperature, and the solid/liquid (S/L) ratio on the leaching processes are also examined. With the exception of the S/L ratio, the increase of citric acid concentration, Na2S2O3 concentration, leaching time, and temperature all have positive effects on the leaching of Co and Li. Ultimately, approximately 96% of Co and 99% of Li are recycled from the spent LIBs in this citric acid/sodium thiosulfate system under the leaching conditions of an S/L ratio of 20 g l−1, concentration of Na2S2O3 of 0.3 M, concentration of citric acid of 1.2 M, leaching time of 30 min, and leaching temperature of 70°C. The Avrami equation is well fitted by the data of the leaching processes, and model equations are built to describe the leaching of Co and Li. Furthermore, pure sulfur can be obtained as a by-product during the leaching process, and SO2 produced during the reaction is easily collected as a raw material for industrial production of sulfuric acid. The present study represents a promising process for hydrometallurgical recovery of valuable metals from spent LIBs.



We gratefully acknowledge the financial support from Gaoyuan Discipline of Shanghai–Environmental Science and Engineering (Resource Recycling Science and Engineering), Shanghai “Chenguang” Program (15CG60), Shanghai Sailing Program (18YF1429900, 15YF1404300), Shanghai Natural Science Foundation (15ZR1416800), Natural Science Foundation of China (51678353), Cultivation discipline fund of Shanghai Polytechnic University (XXKPY1601), Shanghai Polytechnic University Leap Program (EGD19XQD02, EGD18XQD24), and Henan Key Laboratory of Coal Green Conversion (Henan Polytechnic University, CGCF201803).

Supplementary material

11837_2019_3629_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (194 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 194 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environmental and Chemical EngineeringShanghai UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Research Center of Resource Recycling Science and EngineeringShanghai Polytechnic UniversityShanghaiChina
  3. 3.School of Environmental and Materials EngineeringShanghai Polytechnic UniversityShanghaiChina
  4. 4.Henan Key Laboratory of Coal Green ConversionHenan Polytechnic UniversityJiaozuoChina
  5. 5.Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone Environmental Protection Service Co., Ltd.ShanghaiChina
  6. 6.Key Laboratory of Control of Quality and Safety for Aquatic Products, Ministry of Agriculture, East China Sea Fisheries Research InstituteChinese Academy of Fishery SciencesShanghaiChina

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