YSU Gets Grant to Research Recycling of Lithium-ion Batteries

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The National Science Foundation has awarded an Early-Concept Grant for Exploratory Research (Eager award) of $300,000 for the continuation of a Youngstown State University chemistry professor’s work with lithium-ion battery recycling.

The professor, Doug Genna, is working in collaboration with the State University of New York Albany on the project.

Eager awards are a type of proposal to support exploratory work in its early stages, but potentially transformative research.

The National Science Foundation previously awarded the lab a Research Undergraduate Institution grant of $350,000 for the study of metal-organic frameworks, totaling more than half a million dollars for the department since the summer.

Genna used his initial findings of metal-organic frameworks, a porous crystalline compound of metal clusters, to better understand the purification process of water, removing drugs, lead and simulated oil spills. With the Eager award, he hopes to use these same methods to understand how to pull lithium back out of dissolved “black mass” from recycled lithium batteries. 

“If we are successful, this has the potential to change America’s source of lithium batteries,” Genna said.

As a collaborative effort, half of the awarded funds will go toward researchers at SUNY Albany, where they will research the possibility of pulling other metals out from the recycled material.

Genna looks forward to the collaboration with SUNY Albany, having already worked with some of the researchers on a previous study and is also grateful for the student experience.

“These grants create opportunities for students,” he said. “The funds help to fund the chemicals and materials involved, but most importantly they create opportunity.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.