By Mitch Jacoby
Lithium-ion batteries have made portable electronics ubiquitous, and they are about to do the same for electric vehicles. That success story is setting the world on track to generate a multimillion-metric-ton heap of used Li-ion batteries that could end up in the trash. The batteries are valuable and recyclable, but because of technical, economic, and other factors, less than 5% are recycled today. The enormousness of the impending spent-battery situation is driving researchers to search for cost-effective, environmentally sustainable strategies for dealing with the vast stockpile of Li-ion batteries looming on the horizon.