Soon we could be flying electrically. Yet, with the use of electronics increasing, the need for precious metals is also on the rise.
An American startup is using cold gases with free electrons, so-called low-temperature plasmas, to recover the desired materials from used lithium-ion batteries. Because lithium is highly combustible.
After the battery has been shredded and the materials pre-sorted, these are treated with the plasma, enabling 95% of materials to be recycled in pure form without excess energy or water consumption.
Lithium-cobalt, aluminium, copper and graphene are thus given a second life as anodes or cathodes in new batteries.