Recycling and recovery of Iron, Phosphorus and Lithium from used batteries (BattReVal)

Job description


School : IMT Mines Albi

Doctoral school : Mechanics, Energetics, Civil & Process Engineering (MEGEP, Toulouse)

Research center : RAPSODEE – IMT Mines Albi – UMR CNRS 5302

Staff : Prof Ange Nzihou (Supervisor), Dr Nathalie Lyczko (Co-supervisor), Prof Fabienne Espitalier (Co-advisor)

Location: Albi (RAPSODEE CNRS-IMT Mines Albi)

Financial support: Occitanie Region

Starting date: February, 2023

Application deadline: December 16, 2022

Detailed presentation of the doctoral project

EU legislation on batteries is evolving under the impetus of the Green Deal (Sustainable batteries for a circular and climate neutral economy, Dec 2020, July 2021). The challenges are social, economic and environmental. According to the EU, the demand for raw materials for electric vehicles, batteries or energy storage will increase 18 times by 2030 and 60 times by 2050 for Lithium, for example. However, natural resources are depleted over the years due to the growing demand for elements such as noble and rare earth metals. This is the case of lithium, for example for which the scarcity and the interest in new technologies development in fields such as electronics, electric vehicles among others are in a momentum that should last long. The recovery of these high value-added metals is therefore a major challenge for years to come.

This research project is part of this context of circular economy including the recycling of strategic metal elements, energy, and environmental transitions. This thesis aims at recovering the elements used lithium-ion batteries through a selective extraction of Lithium (Li), but also of Iron (Fe) and Phosphorus (P). Some of the extracted elements can be used as catalysts to produce hydrogen by the dry reforming process and also biofuels. This thesis will focus on both experimental and modeling to depict the mechanisms leading to the recovery of these elements. The work will be supported with the experience gained in our laboratory for over than 15 years on metal recovery and associated processes. The recovered metal elements can be combined again with the Li in a further step and be reused for the fabrication of lithium-ion batteries in a circular economy approach.

Keywords : Energy, strategic metal elements extraction, recycling, catalysts, production of hydrogen

How to apply:

Applications should be sent to Nathalie Lyczko (

The following information are requested:

- Synthetic CV, with the current professional situation and the diplomas obtained.

- Transcript

- Subject of the research internship and letter of appreciation from the supervisor(s).

- Letter of motivation showing the adaptation of the skills of the candidate to the proposed research project

Job requirements

Skills expected:

Master's degree in Chemical Engineering of Physical chemistry, the candidate should justify a previous experience on one of the above described topics.