Synergetic interactions improve cobalt leaching from lithium cobalt oxide in microbial fuel cells

Liping Huang, Tianchi Li, Chuan Liu, Xie Quan, Lijie Chen, Aijie Wang, Guohua Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Cobalt leaching from lithium cobalt oxide is a promising reduction process for recovery of cobalt and recycle of spent lithium ion batteries, but suffers from consumption of large amount of reductants and energy, and generation of excess secondary polluted sludge. Thus, effective and environmental friendly processes are needed to improve the existing process limitations. Here we reported microbial fuel cells (MFCs) to effectively reduce Co(III) in lithium cobalt oxide with concomitant energy generation. There was a synergetic interaction in MFCs, leading to a more rapid Co(III) leaching at a rate 3.4 times the sum of rates by conventional chemical processes and no-acid controls. External resistor, solid/liquid ratio, solution conductivity, pH and temperature affected system performance. This study provides a new process for recovery of cobalt and recycle of spent lithium ion batteries with concomitant energy generation from MFCs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-546
Number of pages8
JournalBioresource Technology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cathodic reduction
  • Cobalt leaching
  • Lithium cobalt oxide
  • Microbial fuel cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal

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