Hydrometallurgical Recovery of Spent Lithium Ion Batteries: Environmental Strategies and Sustainability Evaluation

Zhilin Liang, Chen Cai, Gangwei Peng, Jingping Hu*, Huijie Hou, Bingchuan Liu, Sha Liang, Keke Xiao, Shushan Yuan, Jiakuan Yang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Lithium ion batteries have been undergoing rapid development in the global market due to their superior performance. However, the soaring number of lithium ion batteries in the market presents serious disposal challenges at the end of life. Moreover, continuous mining processes are harmful to the environment. From the viewpoint of cleaner production and green chemistry, the efficient recovery and reutilization of spent lithium ion batteries are necessary. In this perspective, the overall process of lithium ion battery recycling, especially the recent advances of hydrometallurgical methods, are summarized, focusing on the leaching, separation, and purification processes. The proper disposal of the waste discharged during the recycling process is proposed, highlighting the mitigation of secondary pollution. In addition, the environmental impact of recycling processes is summarized and thoroughly evaluated by recent life cycle assessment studies, revealing the key role of recycling strategic metal elements toward sustainability in an anthropogenic cycle. Finally, the current challenges in this area are pointed out and perspectives on sustainable approaches, cleaner production, and life cycle assessment are proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5750-5767
Number of pages18
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number17
StatePublished - 3 May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Environmental strategy
  • Lithium ion batteries
  • Organic acid leaching
  • Recycling
  • Separation and purification
  • Sustainability


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