Remanufacturing, Repurposing, and Recycling of Post-Vehicle-Application Lithium-Ion Batteries


As lithium-ion batteries are an efficient energy storage mechanism, their use in vehicles is increasing to support electrification to meet increasing average mileage and decreasing greenhouse gas emission standards. Principles of environmentalism and sustainability suggest the development of processes for the remanufacturing, repurposing, and recycling of post-vehicle-application lithium-ion batteries. Proprietary commercial processes for remanufacturing for reuse in vehicles require safe battery testing that is supported by a newly developed workbench. Repurposing, with a focus on stationary energy storage applications and the development of battery management systems, is demonstrated. Recycling to recover the battery component materials using manual disassembly and acid leaching at relatively low temperatures and in short time periods is shown to be effective. A cost benefit-analysis shows that remanufacturing is profitable. Repurposing is profitable if the development cost is no more than $83/kWh to $114/kWh, depending on research and development expenses. Recycling, driven by environmental and sustainability principles, is not profitable in isolation. The cost of recycling must be borne by remanufacturing and repurposing. A forecasting model shows that the number of post-vehicle-application lithium-ion batteries will be sufficient to support remanufacturing, repurposing, and recycling.



Charles R. Standridge, Ph.D. is the Associate Dean of the Seymour and Esther Padnos College of Engineering and Computing at Grand Valley State University where he is responsible for advising services, K-12 outreach activities, and the Department of Occupational Safety and Health. In addition, he is the principal investigator for the work described in this report. He is also leading the technical work on the Lake Michigan Wind Assessment project whose goal is to examine the wind energy potential in Lake Michigan. He is active in curriculum development in the energy systems area. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Washington University in St. Louis as well as the Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in Industrial Engineering/Operations Research from Purdue University.


Dr. Lindsay Corneal is an Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering at Grand Valley State University. She led the repurposing demonstration and recycling process development areas of this project. She has been active in developing curriculum concerning materials for energy systems. She earned a BASc (Applied Science) in Mechanical Engineering with a Materials option from the University of Windsor (Canada), an MBA from Lawrence Technological University, and a Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engineering from Michigan State University. She also spent six years as a product engineer at DaimlerChrysler (now Chrysler, LLC) where her main responsibility was the power steering system for the Ram pick-up truck.


June 2014


Lithium-ion batteries