A scientist working on a bioprocess for battery recycling and a green battery


Disruptive. Green. Scaleable.

Let’s develop a truly green process together for the recycling of lithium ion batteries!

What is key to a sustainable (EV) battery industry? It’s the efficient recovery of lithium and cobalt, two elements that raw material experts regard as critical due to their scarcity, cumbersome production and risk of supply. They are located in the cathode material of lithium ion batteries and, after discharging and dismantling, they can be recovered in a mixture called “black mass” together with other metal compounds.

Today, metals are recycled from black mass in energy-intensive smelting plants that release climate-damaging gases and fail to recover most of the lithium. Alternatively, hydrometallurgical approaches use aggressive chemicals and produce acidic waste piles that are costly to dispose of.

We believe these strategies belong to the past and envisage a truly green process for the recycling of (EV) batteries.

Contact our expert
Portrait von Esther Gabor

Dr. Esther Gabor

is our expert in the field of biotechnological recycling

View her profile

How microbes can make lithium ion battery recycling more sustainable, more effective and even completely CO2-neutral

Dedicated microorganisms can, by producing organic acids, selectively dissolve lithium and cobalt and leave the remaining bulk material in the solid state. To support this bioleaching activity, microorganisms are fed, i.e. with a simple sugar, a carbon-rich waste stream such as beet syrup, crude glycerol from biodiesel production, or pomace from vegetable or fruit processing. Or even just with carbon dioxide. The latter could compensate for the whole amount of carbon dioxide released during the original production process.
An overview of the process is shown in this animation.

Conventional battery recycling is good –
microbial battery recycling is even better

Microbial battery recycling

  • Small CO2 footprint and low energy consumption
  • Biosolvents from renewable resources (sugars, waste streams, CO2)
  • No toxic emissions
  • Selective and efficient metal extraction
  • Decentralized, modular units, integration into existing flowcharts

Traditional hydrometallurgy

  • Low energy consumption
  • High metal recovery
  • Decentralized, modular units, integration into existing flowcharts
  • Aggressive chemicals
  • Toxic emissions


  • Established process
  • High energy consumption & big carbon footprint
  • Emission of climate-damaging gases (SOx, NOx, Cl gases)
  • Lower rate of metal recovery (Lithium slagging)
  • Central process and costly logistics

Our offer

  • Broad ready-to-screen selection of high-performance microorganisms
  • Optimized microorganisms for the specific needs of metal extraction
  • Deep understanding of process development needs in urban mining
  • Highly motivated team of biomining experts

Our vision

Microorganisms take over lithium and cobalt extraction and lead to a fully environmentally friendly and sustainable battery recycling process.

Your benefit

Drive a pioneering biobased innovation process and secure your pole position in the development of a sustainable battery recycling process!

Integrate our proprietary dedicated microorganisms for single process steps into your existing process, or set up a greenfield process.

For the current stage of the proposal and our proposed project outline download our info sheet:

A scientist working on a bioprocess for battery recycling and a green battery

Creating #Microbial­Battery­Recycling

All information summarized in our flyer

Download PDF

Be a pioneer in sustainable battery recycling

If you want to

  • establish a CO2-neutral circular economy
  • increase the sustainability of your battery recycling process
  • replace fossil resources by renewable ones
  • be a first mover in bio-based recycling

then join us as a development partner and rely on our competencies in the field of biotechnology.

We are ready for the challenge. Let’s make a difference together!

To contact us send us an email or give us a call

Contact Business Development

Why work with BRAIN Biotech Zwingenberg site?

  • More than 30 years of biotech experience
  • Highly competent in microbiology, molecular biology, bioinformatics, protein engineering, and bioprocess development
  • Creative people thinking outside the box
  • Proven performance in (funded) projects and consortia
  • Working in partnership with customers leads to satisfied and returning customers, looking for further innovations to advance their business

Our proven expertise in the field of sustainable metal extraction

Microorganisms from the BRAIN bioarchive extract precious metals from e-waste, ashes, slags and other waste streams in an environmentally friendly way.


How microorganisms can recycle lithium-ion batteries sustainably

Interview in “Sonderabfallwissen” with our expert Gina Kuippers

Read the interview (in german)

Share this page