Lithium-ion batteries are currently used in most portable consumer electronics such as cell phones and laptops because of their high energy per unit mass relative to other electrical energy storage systems. They also have a high power-to-weight ratio, high energy efficiency, high-temperature performance, and low self-discharge. Most components of lithium-ion batteries can be recycled, but the cost of material recovery remains a challenge for the industry.
The U.S. Department of Energy also supports the Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize to develop and demonstrate profitable solutions for collecting, sorting, storing and transporting spent and discarded lithium-ion batteries for eventual recycling and materials recovery. Most of today’s all-electric vehicles and PHEVs use lithium-ion batteries, though the exact chemistry often varies from that of consumer electronics batteries. Research and development are ongoing to reduce their relatively high cost, extend their useful life, and address safety concerns regarding overheating.