Beneath she comments on how the scholarship makes a difference on her work in finding more sustainable solutions in a highly topical and important research field.
“The Renova Environmental Scholarship is an incentive to keep looking for recycling ideas that promote a circular and more sustainable model for lithium-ion batteries. This scholarship may help to fund conferences, courses, or others, to support me to keep working on the use of solvent extraction to selectively recovery metals from lithium-ion batteries. I want to focus on more environmentally-friendly alternatives and on the optimization of the process to maximize the recovery of metals and reduce the use of energy and reagents in the process.”
Extract in English of Renova´s press release
Nathália Vieceli is researching on recycling metals from spent lithium-ion batteries at Chalmers in Gothenburg. There are essentially two methods for this. Pyrometallurgy, which is based on combustion. It is a stable method but requires large amounts of energy and normally some metals are lost in the process, such as lithium. Nathália Vieceli works to develop and refine the second method - hydrometallurgy - where the metals are instead dissolved in acid and extracted into various solvents. By experimenting with different parameters, she wants to find a process that requires as little energy and solvent as possible.
In the press release she comments on the method:
“An advantage is that you get the metals out with very high purity and content. The first step now is to extract manganese. Then the turn goes to cobalt, nickel and lithium” she comments in the press release and continues:
“It is also important that the recycling process itself is sustainable, she points out. This method requires significantly less energy than combustion and we can use the same solvent over and over again”
Renova's scholarship is SEK 100,000 and was awarded to Nathália Vieceli at Renova's sustainability seminar in Gothenburg on 14 October.