Disassembly Automation for Recycling End-of-Life Lithium-Ion Pouch Cells
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Rapid advances in the use of lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) in consumer electronics, electric vehicles, and electric grid storage have led to a large number of end-of-life (EOL) LIBs awaiting recycling to reclaim critical materials and eliminate environmental hazards. This article studies automatic mechanical separation methodology for EOL pouch LIBs with Z-folded electrode-separator compounds (ESC). Customized handling tools are designed, manufactured, and assembled into an automatic disassembly system prototype that consists of three modules. Verification experiments utilizing dummy cells prove that the main components of pouch LIBs (cathode sheets, anode sheets, separators, and polymer-laminated aluminum film housing) can be automatically separated and extracted with well-preserved integrity using our proposed disassembly strategy.
This work was supported in part by the Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF) under Award MF18-031-En, in part by the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I Program of the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Award No. 1819982 and in part by the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech. The authors also thank Yingqi Lu and Dayang Ge for their contributions to setting up the pneumatic assembly line.
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