New: recycling acid batteries is possible
These batteries are used to start gas-powered cars.
Their process uses less energy, is less expensive, and is more environmentally-friendly than the standard way to recycle lead acid batteries.
Most of the world’s lead acid batteries are recycled by smelting, which is an energy-intensive process that uses extremely high heat to separate out the lead and reuse it.
In contrast, Aqua Metals has developed a chemical process to dissolve the core of the battery in a solvent and pull out the lead.
The company says the process uses low temperatures, can be automated, and can be profitable at a small scale. Smelters commonly need to be very large facilities to economically operate.
80 tons of recycled lead a day
Construction on the new facility (the AquaRefinery next door to the Tesla Factory in California) began in August. The company is reportedly aiming to construct a 125,000 square-foot building on the site in the spring. This will be used to begin the recycling efforts. The company claims that, by the end of 2016, it will be pumping out around 80 tons of recycled lead a day.
The CEO of the startup, Stephen Clarke, told Forbes that he thought the new approach to recycling could be as “disruptive to the lead industry as Henry Bessemer’s tech, which enabled the mass production of low-cost steel, was to the steel industry.”
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