Hub to transform battery waste into valuable materials

A new research hub, led by UNSW professor Veena Sahajwalla, will investigate the recycling of battery and consumer wastes to create useful materials for manufacturers.

The Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Hub for Microrecycling of Battery and Consumer Wastes will take metallic allows, oxides, and carbon and divert these elements from landfill and turn them into new materials.

The Hub will operate with $3.3 million in funding and will focus on small-scale processing of materials for the creation of highly valuable materials.

In addition to the support provided by the Australian government and UNSW, mining manufacturer Molycop will contribute to the centre, alongside additional industry partners, which will contribute a total of $2.6m.

To create the new materials, the Hub will investigate high-temperature reactions of waste and selective synthesis techniques.

Ultimately, researchers hope that commercially viable technology and processes will transform low value or difficult to process waste into highly sought-after materials.

“It’s time to rethink attitudes towards all of the materials we design, produce, use and discard, to see them as renewable resources if we want to reduce our reliance on finite resources,” said Sahajwalla. “With this new work on battery waste, we can help create circular economies where waste materials can be reformed into new high-value materials to boost our manufacturing industry and supply chains.”

The Hub is part of the ARC’s Industrial Transformation Research Program which funds research into areas such as advanced manufacturing, cyber security, mining equipment, technology, and services, and medical technologies and pharmaceuticals.

“Our Government is investing in these Research Hubs to push the boundaries of our knowledge and to develop solutions that benefit Australians and improve the capacity of our university and industrial sectors,” said Minister for Education, Dan Tehan.