Dr. Anna Vanderbruggen is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Helmholtz Institute, working on lithium-ion battery recycling. During her doctorate, Anna has developed a new way to extract valuable graphite from lithium-ion batteries. Her method separates the fine powder from crushed lithium-ion batteries into two valuable products instead of one. This process enables the efficient and highly selective recycling of both graphite and metals from used lithium-ion batteries. The objective is a truly circular battery supply chain, one that will help decrease the environmental footprint of battery production and the reliance on raw materials imports from outside the EU. In parallel to her research, she works as a consultant for recycling companies to help them improve their process.
I want to improve the recycling of lithium-ion batteries by bringing to an industrial scale the recycling of graphite. I want this, because lithium-ion batteries recycling is mainly focused on metals, unfortunately, graphite is either landfilled or burnt off during recycling. Graphite is critical, you can build a lithium-ion battery without cobalt but not without graphite… and there is a considerable supply risk for graphite! I can do this because I have been working these past 5 years on lithium-ion battery recycling and I developed a recycling process that allows us to recycle the metals as well as the graphite!