Battery recycling

For many years, we have been successfully researching the development of new materials and innovative battery manufacturing processes for electromobility. The acceptance and future prospects of modern electric drive concepts significantly depend on the ability to recycle used batteries in a resource-conserving and environmentally friendly way.

Closing the loop in electromobility

Only the most efficient recovery of valuable and, in some cases, critical raw materials such as lithium, cobalt and copper is a prerequisite for the effort to ensure that the effort pays off economically and ecologically. In order to close raw material and production loops – and thus to facilitate industrial mass application – Fraunhofer IWS has expanded its research activities. Several publicly funded projects provide an overview below.  

Research Projects in the Competence Cluster "Recycling & Green Battery (greenBatt)"

"ecoLiga" and "LOWVOLMON"

The »ecoLiga« and »LOWVOLMON« projects are funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (FKZ: 03XP0354D).

As part of the greenBatt battery cluster initiated by the BMBF, we are participating in the two research projects "ecoLiga*1" and "LOWVOLMON*2".

The "ecoLiga" project focuses on the recovery and reuse of carbon materials for lithium batteries. We provide primary cell manufacturing and resynthesis of recycled carbon materials for the production of cells based on secondary materials.

In "LOWVOLMON", we are focusing on (low) volatile organic compounds occurring in reprocessing processes of used batteries. In cooperation with other research institutes and universities, we are responsible for the metrological analysis for the targeted determination of volatile substances. To this end, we develop and test suitable filter solutions that will significantly improve health and environmental protection in the future.

For more information about the greenBatt competence cluster, please visit:


*1 Recycling and resynthesis of carbon materials from lithium batteries - recovery, reprocessing, reuse and adapted cell design.

*2 Monitoring of low volatile electrolytes in the mechanical recycling process chain.

Research project "ReCycle"

BMWi project ReCycle: separated ultracapacitors for material analysis.
© Fraunhofer IWS
BMWi project ReCycle: separated ultracapacitors for material analysis.

Numerous industrial companies and three Fraunhofer institutes (IKTS, IWS, IVI) are collaborating in the BMWi-funded project "ReCycle*3" to research technologies along the value added chain of reprocessing lithium-ion batteries and supercap storage devices. All process steps – from collection, deep discharge, disassembly, crushing, fractionation to recovery of relevant raw materials – are specifically taken into account in the consortium. We focus on the conceptual design of processes and plants and on the feasibility demonstration on a small scale.

In this context, we are responsible for the detection of harmful gas and particle emissions during mechanical pulping - with various lithium-ion batteries and supercaps being investigated. Together with industrial partners, a filter prototype is developed and tested in the process under real conditions. The participation of the companies ensures that the research results will be transferred directly into application, thus making an important contribution to compliance with emission limits.

The »ReCycle« project is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (FKZ: 03ETE031K). 


*3 Automation as a key technology for the economic remanufacturing of lithium-ion battery systems.