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New 'blue-green' solution for recycling world's batteries

Researchers have a solution to deal with the glut of used lithium-ion batteries left behind by the ever-increasing demand for electric vehicles, cellphones and other electronic devices. Researchers at Rice University used an environmentally friendly, deep eutectic solvent to extract valuable elements from the metal oxides commonly used as cathodes in lithium-ion batteries. The goal, researchers said, was to curtail the use of harsh processes to recycle batteries and keep them out of landfills. The solvent, made of commodity products choline chloride and ethylene glycol, extracted more than 90 percent of cobalt from powdered compounds, and a smaller but still significant amount from used batteries. Shown here: The blue-green color of solutions reveals the presence of cobalt taken from spent lithium-ion batteries.

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