Nickel Metal Hydride Battery Waste: Mechano-hydrometallurgical Experimental Study on Recycling Aspects

Antti Porvali, Severi Ojanen, Benjamin P. Wilson, Rodrigo Serna-Guerrero, Mari Lundström

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


In this research, the recycling of industrially collected and crushed nickel metal hydride battery waste, rich in valuable metals such as Ni and rare earth elements (REE), was investigated. The crushed waste was characterized based on elemental distribution per particle size class and density. Although issues with sieving, such as agglomeration of shredded separator fibers, were observed, a good separation of Fe and plastics could be achieved by using a 1-mm sieve size. It was observed that, as the waste battery particles were washed with water, some organic compounds were dissolved. Acid consumption of 14 mol H+ ions per 1 kg of battery sample (sieve fraction—1 mm) was determined to be sufficient to achieve the desired final pH of < 1. Selectivity of the leaching at higher equilibrium pH was also investigated by using dilute H2SO4. Pregnant leach solution rich in Ni (46 g/L) and REEs (La: 9 g/L, Ce: 7.5 g/L, Pr: 1.4 g/L, Sm: 0.29 g/L, Y: 0.17 g/L) was obtained and REE precipitation was investigated as a function of dilute Na2SO4 solution concentration (0.01–0.5 M) at a temperature of 50 °C. The best precipitation efficiency was achieved with a Na:REE ratio of 9.1, which resulted in a > 99% precipitation efficiency for the REEs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-90
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Sustainable Metallurgy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Characterization
  • Circular economy of metals
  • Hydrometallurgy
  • Mechanical processing
  • NiMH batteries


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