A solid-state electrolysis process for upcycling aluminium scrap

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55 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The recycling of aluminium scrap today utilizing a remelting technique downgrades the quality of the aluminium, and the final sink of this downgraded recycled aluminium is aluminium casting alloys1–9. The predicted increase in demand for high-grade aluminium as consumers choose battery-powered electric vehicles over internal combustion engine vehicles is expected to be accompanied by a drop in the demand for low-grade recycled aluminium, which is mostly used in the production of internal combustion engines2,7,10,11. To meet the demand for high-grade aluminium in the future, a new aluminium recycling method capable of upgrading scrap to a level similar to that of primary aluminium is required2–4,7,11. Here we propose a solid-state electrolysis (SSE) process using molten salts for upcycling aluminium scrap. The SSE produces aluminium with a purity comparable to that of primary aluminium from aluminium casting alloys. Moreover, the energy consumption of the industrial SSE is estimated to be less than half that of the primary aluminium production process. By effectively recycling aluminium scrap, it could be possible to consistently meet demand for high-grade aluminium. True sustainability in the aluminium cycle is foreseeable with the use of this efficient, low-energy-consuming process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-515
Number of pages5
JournalNature
Volume606
Issue number7914
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jun 16

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