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Recycling of strategic metals from Li-ion batteries by supercritical CO2 assisted by polymers and mechanochemistry (M/F)

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Date Limite Candidature : jeudi 12 août 2021

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General information

Reference : UMR5253-MICSOU-005
Date of publication : Thursday, July 22, 2021
Scientific Responsible name : Laure Monconduit
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 18 October 2021
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

Controlled management of the strategic metal resources of Li-ion batteries has become a major emergency due to the exponential growth in their use in recent years. The goal of this project is to offer new innovative recycling approaches that are cleaner and less energy-consuming. This work is a collaboration with SNAM, the French leader in recycling.
The work of this thesis aims to explore two new approaches to recycling the cobalt contained in LIBs. The 1st approach proposed in this project is based on the use of supercritical CO2 (sc-CO2) assisted by polymers composed of CO2-phile units to confer the solubility of the polymers, and of complexing units to allow the polymers to interact with cobalt ions. The targeted polymers will be synthesized by controlled radical polymerization. The method proposed in this work is inspired by promising results obtained in the case of the decontamination of textiles polluted by cobalt nitrates [1].
The 2nd approach is based on mechanochemistry (MC) as a method for the separation and / or recovery of electrode materials and other battery components. MC has recently been proposed for the recycling of positive electrode materials based on iron phosphates [2-3] as well as lamellar oxides of the LiCoO2 [4] or NMC type. [5]
Finally, for both approaches, the recovered metals will be re-used for the synthesis of new cathode materials whose performance will be evaluated electrochemically in Li-ion batteries.
[1] Chirat, M.et al, Extraction of Cobalt Ion from Textile Using a Complexing Macromolecular Surfactant in Supercritical Carbon Dioxide, Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 52 538–542. (2013)
[2] E. Fan, L. Li, X. Zhang, Y. Bian, Q. Xue, J. Wu, F. Wu and R. Chen, ACS Sustain. Chem. Eng., 2018, 6, 11029–11035.
[3] L. Li, Y. Bian, X. Zhang, Y. Yao, Q. Xue, E. Fan, F. Wu and R. Chen, Waste Manag., 2019, 85, 437–444.
[4] J. Guan, H. Xiao, X. Lou, Y. Guo, X. Luo, Y. Li, C. Yan, X. Yan, G. Gao, H. Yuan, J. Dai, R. Su, W. Gu and Z. Guo, ES Energy Environ., 2018, 1, 80–88
[5] X. Zhang, Y. Xie, H. Cao, F. Nawaz and Y. Zhang, Waste Manag., 2014, 34, 1715–1724

Work Context

The thesis will take place mainly at the Charles Gerhardt Institute (University of Montpellier) and more precisely within the departments D2 (Chemistry and Macromolecular Materials) and D4 (Chemistry of Materials, Nanostructures, Materials for Energy). The student will also be required to carry out part of the project at SNAM (Viviez).
The pedagogical supervision will be provided by researchers and Profs from the ICGM in conjunction with the R&D manager of SNAM.

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