Revolutionizing Li-Ion Battery Recycling

Coherent SHARP technology enables upcycling of Lithium-Ion battery waste into cathode materials.


September 05, 2023 by Coherent



Global lithium-ion battery (LIB) production is hitting record highs with each successive year as a wave of investments in new manufacturing plants comes online. As more segments of the global economy electrify, the LIB is increasingly the default technology choice for devices of all sizes. 

This growth in demand drives the need for a sustainable raw material supply. The development of an environmentally friendly solution for handling the waste generated during battery production is an equally important objective, along with the disposal of used batteries at the end of their productive life.  

The reason this is so critical is that most of today’s batteries are composed of toxic organic electrolytes and heavy metals that can leach into the environment. Also, LIB batteries use scarce and valuable minerals that are usually mined far from the location where finished products are produced. 

This means that making batteries in volume requires substantial investments in the mining, refining, and transportation of these materials. And indiscriminate disposal of battery waste could easily negate the environmental benefits envisioned by the battery-based industrial revolution.  



As worldwide Li-ion battery production increases, effective recycling is essential to meeting the needs for raw materials and for providing a green way of disposing of end-of-life batteries.


The Recycling Solution

Battery recycling provides part of the solution to this dilemma. Recycling can reduce the amount of new raw materials that must be sourced for battery production. And it provides a pathway for dealing with the waste from end-of-life batteries.

For the last few decades, battery recyclers had only one technical solution in their arsenal. This was pyrometallurgy. This involves burning battery scrap to remove unwanted organic materials and plastics. Unfortunately, pyrometallurgy leaves the recycler with just a fraction of the original materials – mainly, copper from current collectors and nickel/cobalt from the cathode. Most importantly, the rare element lithium was completely lost during this process.

This legacy technology was recently displaced by hydrometallurgy. This process uses solvents to leach out or extract the valuable metals, including lithium. These metals are subsequently separated through a complex and selective extraction process to obtain the individual metallic compounds. These can then be returned into the battery materials supply chain.  

Hydrometallurgy is a significant advancement over pyrometallurgy. But it is still energy-consuming, technologically complex to implement on a large scale, and economically sensitive to various external factors.  


Upcycling – The Next Generation Solution

Coherent has now developed an environmentally friendly, economically attractive, and technologically superior alternative to all the previous forms of recycling. We truly believe it has the potential to revolutionize the disposal of battery waste on a global scale.  

We call our solution Streamlined Hydrometallurgical Advanced Recycling Process (SHARP). It is the first technology that efficiently recovers the critical metals from LIBs – without separating them individually. It directly “upcycles” these metals into cathode materials suitable for use in new battery production.

The Coherent SHARP breakthrough process offers three distinctive advantages: 



SHARP has zero liquid discharge, and generates no toxic solids, gases, or liquids. Plus, the water consumption and energy requirements for SHARP make it the world’s most eco-friendly battery recycling solution.

More Efficient

SHARP enables >95% recovery of critical metals. And it directly yields the precursors and/or cathode materials for new LIB production. So, several complicated refining steps for separating and purifying these metals individually are either entirely eliminated, or drastically reduced. SHARP therefore offers an adaptable feedstock process flow to manufacturers which will facilitate its adoption.

Lower Cost

By eliminating or reducing the need for discrete metal separation, SHARP lowers capital costs by about 60% as compared to conventional hydrometallurgical processing. Plus, its ability to regenerate the chemicals used during the process reduces the costs of both consumables and utilities (an estimated 30% savings).


An efficient hydrometallurgical process can recover over 95% of the valuable metals in end-of-life battery black mass.


Global electrification cannot be considered truly “green,” until the negative environmental contributions of raw material mining, material stockpiling, and disposal of LIB waste are addressed in a meaningful manner. Coherent SHARP technology offers the world a pragmatic path to lower battery manufacturing costs. It enables battery and EV producers to achieve greater economies of scale and accomplishes this with a positive environmental impact. It is a truly sustainable solution for the continued adoption of EVs powered by LIB batteries.  

Learn more about Coherent Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling and our commitment to building a more sustainable society.