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The objective of this study is to formulate a framework to assess environmental impacts and risk associated with products containing nanomaterials. The research presented here focuses on the end-of-life (EOL) management and recycling of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. The concerns regarding nanoenabled Li-ion batteries are both timely and important as these products are already in the marketplace and moving into the waste stream. While further research is underway, the initial material engineering assessment and process analysis show that current battery recycling operations may need to be modified and process parameters adjusted to accommodate these new Li-ion batteries or unexpected and unwanted impacts may occur. Preliminary findings indicate that filtration systems may release nanoparticles into the atmosphere; process outputs may be contaminated by unexpected nanostructures; and process wastes may contain hazardous or toxic nanomaterials. As described, additional research is necessary to further quantify these impacts and to validate recommendations for process improvement.
Date of Conference: 19-22 May 2008