A facile way of recovering 3d transition metals of industrial importance from spent lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) without using any surfactants has been developed. Mn- and Co-rich spent LIBs were chosen as sustainable sources for recovering the oxides of the respective elements. The physical dismantling of Li-ion batteries, chemical leaching with 2 M acetic acid, precipitation with ammonium carbonate, hydrothermal conditioning and calcination at 650 °C led to the facile formation of spherical spinel MnCo2O4 with very high morphological selectivity. The obtained spherical MnCo2O4 was identified by various advanced characterization techniques. Detailed electrochemical characterization revealed that the recovered spheres of spinel MnCo2O4 were effective in catalyzing the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) in 1 M KOH and required an overpotential of 358 and 400 mV to generate a current density of 5 and 10 mA cm-2, respectively, with a relatively low catalyst loading (0.001025 g cm-2). Comparative electrocatalytic studies carried out with recovered LiCoO2, recovered LiXMnOX+1 and commercially available catalysts such as RuO2 (c-RuO2), Co3O4 (c-Co3O4) and MnO2 (c-MnO2) revealed that the recovered spheres of spinel MnCo2O4 were more effective OER catalysts than the recovered LiCoO2, recovered LiXMnOX+1, c-Co3O4 and c-MnO2 and exhibited comparable activity to that of c-RuO2 with very little difference in overpotential (∼50 mV) at current densities of 5 and 10 mA cm-2. With such a low catalyst loading, the observed electrocatalytic performance in water oxidation of a material recovered from waste is highly significant and will surely attain greater industrial importance when the recycling of spent LIBs from electronic wastes is considered.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Inorganic Chemistry