To reduce the exploitation of mine resources and decrease the harm to the environment caused by urban electronic wastes, the recovery of critical metals in secondary resources is crucial. In this study, we have successfully developed an eco-friendly process to integrate the leaching and separation of cobalt (Co) from a spent lithium-ion battery (LIB) cathode using an amino acid-based aqueous biphasic system (ABS). We, for the first time, demonstrated a simple method for leaching a LIB cathode using only amino acids. In addition, we have investigated the leaching mechanism using the typical cathode active material lithium cobalt oxide (LiCoO2). Then, the Co was selectively extracted by a biphasic system (amino acid-PPG400-H2O). This novel process has an excellent prospect in the field of spent-battery recycling because of its eco-friendly and process-simplified advantages.
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