Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering - (M.S.)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Wen Zhang

Second Advisor

Lucia Rodriguez-Freire

Third Advisor

Taha F. Marhaba

Fourth Advisor

Eon Soo Lee


Lithium ion batteries (LIBs) are used in diverse electronic products with anticipated over 500 thousand tonnes of the waste LIBs globally in 2020. To protect the environment and also recover valuable materials such as lithium (Li) and cobalt (Co), our research employed a hydrometallurgy method and demonstrated that exposure of spent LIBs to Organic Aqua Regia (OAR) could leach Li and Co without the pre-separation of cathode from Al foil using organic solvents such as Dimethylformamide (DMF) and N-Methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP). The leaching efficiency of 99% and 94% for Li and Co were obtained with a leaching rate of 0.021, 0.167 mg·mg-1·h-1 respectively. Furthermore, our life cycle assessment (LCA) indicates that OAR could reduce 65% greenhouse gas (GHG) emission compared to extraction from natural mines or reduce 26% GHG emission compared to pyrometallurgy and hydrometallurgy processes with sulfuric acid.