The Recycling of End-of-Life Lithium-ion Batteries and the Phase Characterisation of Black Mass

Laurance Donnelly*, Duncan Pirrie, Matthew Power, Ian Corfe, Jukka Kuva, Sari Lukkari, Yann Lahaye, Xuan Liu, Quentin Dehaine, Ester Jolis, Alan Butcher

*Corresponding author for this work

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Black mass is the industry term applied to end of life (EoL) lithium-ion batteries that have been mechanically processed for potential use as a recycled material to recover the valuable metals present including cobalt, lithium, manganese, nickel and copper. A significant challenge to the effective processing of black mass is the complexity of the feed material. Two samples of black mass from a European source were analysed using a combination of methods including automated SEM- EDS (AMICS) to characterise and quantify the phases present and particle chemistry. Micro X-CT imaging, overlain onto automated mineralogy images, enabled the 3D morphology of the particles to be determined. Micro-XRF was used to map the copper, nickel, manganese and cobalt-bearing phases. Since Li cannot be detected by SEM-EDS its abundance was semi-quantified using laser ablation inductively coupled mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). The integration of these complimentary analytical methods allowed the detailed phase characterisation, which may guide the potential hydrometallurgical or pyrometallurgical recycling routes and chemical assaying.
Original languageEnglish
Article number59
Number of pages19
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2023


  • Black mass
  • lithium-ion batteries
  • EoL batteries
  • sampling
  • automated mineralogy
  • SEM- 25 EDS
  • Micro X-CT
  • Micro-XRF


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