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Reuse & Recycling of Lithium-Ion Batteries

The ReLiB Project

What is ReLiB?

ReLiB is a £18m basic research project led by University of Birmingham, that aims to provide technological solutions, and thought leadership, to the challenges of re-using and comprehensively recycling lithium-ion batteries of different chemistry systems. Our UK academic collaborators are The University of Edinburgh, Newcastle University, University of Leicester, University of Oxford, Imperial College London & University College London.

Our Aims

The aim of the ReLiB project is to establish the Technological, Economic and Legal infrastructure required to optimise the efficiency of material management from Lithium-ion batteries utilised in the automotive sector. By implementing circularity practices, we aim to promote long-term sustainability by conserving the valuable resources and minimizing the environmental impact.

What is ReLiB's Vision?

Vision icon


Our goal is to provide a UK EV battery recycling industry with a pipeline of scalable ReLiB’s latest technologies that are responsive to regulatory drivers, new battery designs and chemistries, and the opportunities afforded by Industry 4.0.

5 Year View

In five year’s time we aim to see the following technologies developed – and scaled:

  1. Cathode leaching work to industrial level.
  2. Upcycled electrode materials used in new cells.
  3. Binder recovery (where there is an economic or regulatory rationale to do so).
  4. Biorecovery of materials e.g. metals from plastic EV battery waste, from secondary waste solutions—’zero waste’ concept—(where there is an economic or regulatory rationale to do so).
  5. Smart disassembly, separation and regeneration technologies e.g. direct recycling to protect the material crystal structure and embedded value of electrode material for reuse.
  6. Digital diagnostic tools that can interface seamlessly with battery data passports to assess the state of health of batteries and inform recycling routes.
  7. Identification of new research topics that fit with changing battery design & chemistry systems and regulatory drivers.

Key Challenges for Recycling

Maximizing throughput

Maximizing amount of battery materials recovered

Maximizing the value of recovered materials minimizing

Cost & market failure mitigation

Minimizing waste


Life Cycle Analysis

The use of life cycle analysis and techno-economic assessment of each recycling route to identify optimum management systems.

Economic Assessment

An assessment of the relative engineering & economic gains for various 2nd life applications.


Fully autonomous gateway testing and robotic sorting techniques & development of systems.


The development of recycling technologies to segregate and purify the different materials.


Of active materials from cells near, & at EoL & recycled materials recovered from used batteries.

Key Statistics


New EV registrations in 2022

Source: Department for Business & Trade UK Battery Strategy


increase in UK EV production in 2022

Source: Department for Business & Trade UK Battery Strategy


EVs predicted to be produced annually by 2030

Source: The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT)

Our Areas of Research

Since its inception, ReLiB has pursued a high-technology, science- and safety-led approach to the challenges of managing EoL EV Lithium-ion batteries in three complementary work streams. The ReLiB project will continue its open and collaborative research ethos organized into the following three, closely cooperating ReLiB workstreams:

Data Driven Pack Handling


Materials Extraction


Materials Refining


Remanufacturing & Testing


Designing Recycling Processes


* Work based on exploratory studies in previous phases considered

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