Closed-loop cathode recycling in solid-state batteries enabled by supramolecular electrolytes

J Bae and ZY Zhu and JJ Yan and DM Kim and Y Ko and A Jain and BA Helms, SCIENCE ADVANCES, 9, eadh9020 (2023).

DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.adh9020

Deconstructing solid-state batteries (SSBs) to physically separated cathode and solid-electrolyte particles remains intensive, as does the remanufacturing of cathodes and separators from the recovered materials. To address this challenge, we designed supramolecular organo-ionic (ORION) electrolytes that are viscoelastic solids at battery operating temperatures (-40 degrees to 45 degrees C) yet are viscoelastic liquids above 100 degrees C, which enables both the fabrication of high-quality SSBs and the recycling of their cathodes at end of life. SSBs implementing ORION electrolytes alongside Li metal anodes and either LFP or NMC cathodes were operated for hundreds of cycles at 45 degrees C with less than 20% capacity fade. Using a low-temperature solvent process, we isolated the cathode from the electrolyte and demonstrated that refurbished cells recover 90% of their initial capacity and sustain it for an additional 100 cycles with 84% capacity retention in their second life.

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