Sensmet’s Micro-Discharge Optical Emission Spectroscopy on-line analyser can provide real-time feedback on the concentration of metals in black mass. | Courtesy of Sensmet

Seeking to improve how batteries are recycled, Sensmet developed a technology that can provide real-time quantification of metals. 

The Micro-Discharge Optical Emission Spectroscopy (µDOES) on-line analyser works by creating a micro-discharge – or electric spark – in a diluted sample taken from the process stream. The spark flash-heats the small sample to 10,000 degrees Celsius (18,000 degrees Fahrenheit), so the molecules are dissociated into atoms. The µDOES then measures the energy the atoms release to determine the metals in the sample, such as lithium, manganese, cobalt, nickel, copper, aluminum and iron. 

The concentrations and trends for each metal are displayed instantaneously, and the data can also be synced with other data management systems to allow for real-time process control.

A press release noted that the technology “will significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of hydrometallurgical processes.” 

“Sensmet’s solution provides a major step forward in black mass characterisation and process monitoring procedures that have traditionally relied heavily on time-consuming spot sampling and labor-intensive laboratory analysis,” the press release stated. 

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