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Recycling & Green Chemistry

Published on 5 August 2020

​Recycling & Green Chemistry

An extremely promising solution for recovering, recycling, and reusing critical materials.

Liten has set its sights on solutions to make the technologies being developed for tomorrow's low-carbon energy systems more sustainable. The institute is developing innovative processes capable of addressing new reserves of materials and, specifically, mining waste and spent electronic components. The goal is to recycle the most critical materials in such a way as to limit environmental impacts and, more broadly, address the entire value chain from design, extraction, and use to end-of-life, recycling, and reuse in low-carbon energy applications.

Liten researchers are synthesizing materials and developing eco-processes to meet the needs of the energy industry. Developments begin in the lab and are then scaled up to prepare for transfer to the market while ensuring compliance with applicable regulations.

Liten stands out for its capacity to develop recycling processes specific to spent renewable-energy components. However, the institute is also investigating new recycling channels for secondary materials leveraging its proprietary technologies.

At the same time, Liten is developing eco-design approaches for components that enable the best possible use of recycling processes.

Hydrometallurgical and supercritical water processes are currently in the lead, offering substantial advantages such as:

  • A capacity to comply with regulations on material recovery rates and, in some cases, perform better than required.
  • The purity of the material recovered, which can be reused as manufacturing inputs.
  • Low energy consumption compared to other recycling processes while delivering higher yields and purity levels.

This research is conducted by a multidisciplinary team spanning chemistry, chemical engineering, electrochemistry, materials analytics, and materials science. 

It is intended for:

  • Industrial companies that want to ensure that their technologies are recyclable; manufacturers' liability is now broader, making them responsible for ensuring recyclability in some cases (batteries and electrical and electronic equipment). 
  • Recycling companies that want to develop new recycling processes for the products of their existing processes or to improve process efficiency.

The processes utilized at Liten are at TRL 3 to TRL 5 to facilitate scaleup and transfer.