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ArticleName Characterization technique for spent lithium-cobalt power sources and how their characteristics influence the way they are recycled and utilized
DOI 10.17580/tsm.2023.03.06
ArticleAuthor Nazarov V. I., Retivov V. M., Makarenkov D. A., Aflyatunova G. R., Pochitalkina A. I.

National Research Centre Kurchatov Institute, Moscow, Russia:

V. I. Nazarov, Deputy Head of Department, Candidate of Technical Sciences, e-mail:
V. M. Retivov, Acting Head of Kurchatov Complex of Chemical Researches (IREA), Candidate of Chemical Sciences
D. A. Makarenkov, Fist Deputy Head on Scientific Work of Kurchatov Complex of Chemical Researches (IREA), Doctor of Technical Sciences
G. R. Aflyatunova, Research Assistant


D. Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia, Moscow, Russia:
A. I. Pochitalkina, Professor, Doctor of Technical Sciences, e-mail:


Today, recycling of spent lithium-cobalt current sources is a relevant problem. A comprehensive multiple-stage recycling process developed by the Complex of Chemical Research (IREA) for lithium-cobalt current sources involves their opening-up, crushing and grinding (including mechanical activation), followed by leaching in a liquid – solid system and extraction in a liquid – liquid system. The target product of the above process includes a powder sediment containing compounds of cobalt (Co), lithium (Li), manganese (Mn), nickel (Ni) and other components. The intermediate and final products were subjected to comprehensive analysis, which involved doing inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy, X-ray phase analysis, scanning electron microscopy, laser diffraction, low-temperature nitrogen adsorption and gas chromatography. This ensured a stage-by-stage quality control of the obtained products during the recycling cycle. The properties of the recycled materials that had been thus established helped control the recycling process and the quality of both intermediate and target products. The proposed process is safe for the environment and delivers a valuable secondary raw material that can be utilized.
Support for this research was provided under Grant No. 21-19-00403 by the Russian Science Foundation: Investigation of the processes of mechanochemical destruction of cathode materials during the extraction of cobalt and its compounds.
The elemental, X-ray phase and laser diffraction analyses, scanning electron microscopy and gas chromatography were carried out using the equipment of “Research Chemical and Analytical Center NRC “Kurchatov Institute” Shared Research Facilities.
The texture analysis of the specimens was carried out using the equipment of the shared knowledge centre owned by D.Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia.
The authors would like to thank A. P. Popov and R. R. Sayfutyarov from the Kurchatov Complex of Chemical Research (IREA) for their enormous contribution to the experiments and data processing work.

keywords Lithium-cobalt current sources, comprehensive utilization process, lithium, cobalt, crushing, mechanical activation, spectrometry, X-ray phase analysis, particle-size analyzer, specific surface, porosity, quality control

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