ecoLiga – Recycling and resynthesis of carbon materials from lithium batteries: Recovery, processing, reuse and adapted cell design

The ecoLiga project balances the sustainability in terms of manufacturing and recyclability of different carbon materials. One of the goals is to recommend suitable materials and battery designs to increase sustainability. Accordingly, a central issue of the project is the possibility of mobilizing battery components to close material cycles and create carbon materials based on a design for recycling. In this way, the fields of battery production and recycling can be linked in terms of content, and cooperation paths can be identified to move in the field of sustainable innovation development. In particular, the developed methods are validated using lithium-sulfur batteries as an example of an innovative battery system. In this context, innovative pre-treatment methods such as flotation are used to ensure enrichment of graphite and carbon materials and holistic maximization of yield with the target of resynthesis.

This project will be realized by bundling research expertise to the respective stages in the process route: The Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology (IWS) in Dresden has many years of experience in battery design from material development to prototype cell production. This expertise also covers the area of resynthesis of recycled material for the production of battery cell prototypes. The expertise of the ecoLiga project coordinator, the Institute of Metallurgical Process Engineering and Metal Recycling (IME) at RWTH Aachen University lies primarily in the design and experimental implementation of sustainable and cost-effective recycling processes for different battery systems.

© Helmholtz-Institut Freiberg für Ressourcentechnologie – Anna Vanderbruggen

This aspect is optimally enhanced by the know-how of the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF) in the field of recycling of mineral and metal-bearing raw materials, in particular about the processing of carbon particles using flotation. By combining IME and HIF know-how, an overall recycling concept can thus be achieved to maximize yield and purity.

The ecoLiga project is rounded off by the accompanying analysis and evaluation of the recycling and resynthesis processes by the Institute for Machine Tools and Manufacturing Technology (IWF) of the TU Braunschweig. Thus, a sustainability assessment can be carried out during the project using Life Cycle Costing (LCC) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).

By optimally distributing the know-how of all partners from cell production to recycling and resynthesis of recycled carbon materials, continuous optimization of the ecoLiga process can be achieved.


RWTH Aachen University – Institute for Process Metallurgically and Metal Recycling (IME)

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. h.c. Bernd Friedrich
Paul Sabarny

Intzestr. 3, 52056 Aachen

Duration of project

01.11.2020 – 31.10.2023

Involved partners