Cold-plasma activation converting conductive agent in spent Li-ion batteries to bifunctional oxygen reduction/evolution electrocatalyst for zinc-air batteries

Yifan Liu, Xiangqun Zhuge, Tong Liu, Zhihong Luo*, Kun Luo, Yibing Li*, Yurong Ren, Maryam Bayati, Xiaoteng Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Considerable amount of high-value transition metals components can be recycled in spent ternary lithium-ion batteries. In this study, we utilized the conductive agent carbon black, obtained from the leaching waste resulting from the chemical recovery of spent lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt (NCM) oxide cathode materials. This process allows us to create valuable bifunctional catalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction and oxygen evolution reaction (ORR/OER), facilitated by a facile cold plasma activation method, as a part of lithium batteries circular economy. The activated conductive agent (RCA-30) exhibited an ORR half-wave potential of 0.74 V (vs. RHE) in 0.1 mol/L KOH solution, and an OER overpotential of 360 mV at 10 mA cm−2 in 1 mol/L KOH electrolyte, owing to nitrogen doping of carbon black and activation of surface metal oxides. The complete zinc-air batteries incorporating the activated catalysts at the cathode exhibited an open circuit potential of up to 1.48 V and sustained cycling for 100 h at a current density of 5 mA cm−2. Additionally, the activated catalysts contributed to a power density of 92 mW cm−2 and a full discharge capacity of 640 mAh/g.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)793-800
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Early online date26 Mar 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Mar 2024

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