Innovative recycling routes are needed to fulfill the increasing demand for battery raw materials to ensure sufficiency in the future. The integration of battery scrap recycling and nickel slag cleaning by reduction with methane was experimentally researched for the first time in this study. Industrial nickel slag from the direct Outotec nickel flash smelting (DON) process was mixed with both synthetic and industrial battery scrap. The end products of the slag-scrap mixtures after reduction at 1400 °C in a CH4 (5 vol %)-N2 atmosphere were an Ni–Co–Cu–Fe metal alloy and FeOx– SiO2 slag. It was noted that a higher initial amount of cobalt in the feed mixture increased the recovery of cobalt to the metal alloy. Increasing the reduction time decreased the fraction of sulfur in the metal alloy and magnetite in the slag. After reduction, manganese was deported in the slag and most of the zinc volatilized. This study confirmed the possibility of replacing coke with methane as a non-fossil reductant in nickel slag cleaning on a laboratory scale, and the recovery of battery metals cobalt and nickel in the slag cleaning process with good yields.
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