Nanocellulose makes battery recycling more efficient

The electrification of our society has led to  a growing need for efficient and sustainable battery recycling methods. In response to this challenge, researchers at WWSC at KTH have achieved a  breakthrough in battery recycling by using nanocellulose in the metal separation. This innovative approach has the potential to significantly simplify the separation of battery metals from other materials, addressing the pressing demand for eco-friendly recycling processes.
Framsteg för forskning runt batteriåtervinning_Jämförelse_elektrod_med_utan nanocellulosa

Nanocellulose can make the recycling of batteries up to 30 % more efficient shows the research by Billy Hoogendoorn, WWSC at KTH. By using aqueous electrodeposition cadmium with a purity of over 99% could be selectively extracted, while leaving the nickel in the solution. By using aqueous electrodeposition, cadmium with a purity of over 99% could be selectively extracted, while leaving the nickel in the solution.

“This work represents an exciting initial step in how nanocellulose can be utilized to impact the efficiency and selectivity of metal recycling processes, and we believe that there are incredibly many more aspects that can be evaluated,” says Billy Hoogendoorn to

In the research they found very small additions of half a gram of cellulose fibers per liter of liquid lead to the formation of large tree-shaped dendrites, visible to the naked eye.

“The increase in dendrite formation means that the amount of material recovered from the aqueous solutions can increase significantly, up to 30 per cent,” says Billy Hoogendoorn.

The research has, among other things, been carried out on backup batteries at Swedish hospitals. The results were recently published in Nanoscale Advances.



Hoogendoorn, B. W. and Karlsson, O. and Xiao, X. and Pandey, A. and Mattsson, S. E. and Ström, V. and Andersson, R. L. and Li, Y. and Olsson, R. T (2023) Cellulose nanofibers (CNFs) in the recycling of nickel and cadmium battery metals using electrodeposition, Nanoscale Advances, DOI:


Billy Hoogendorn defended his PhD thesis in June 2023. Supervisor was Associate Professor Richard Olsson. Find the thesis at