FIGURE 1: New process illustrates reduced processing and materials handling that results in reduction in resources and cost for recyclers and battery manufacturers
Lead oxide is the key active ingredient used in a battery and comprises over half of a battery’s lead content. The traditional method utilized to produce oxide for lead batteries is a four-step process:
- smelting lead recovered from used batteries;
- refining that lead to the proper purity;
- casting the lead into ingots and
- remelting those ingots to be placed in an oxide reactor for oxide manufacturing.
Aqua Metals’ innovative approach would help the $65 Billion lead acid battery industry bypass steps 2 and 3 (refining and ingoting), resulting in significant savings in time, money and emissions as the AquaRefined lead briquettes would transition directly to the melting stage at the oxide manufacturer.
FIGURE 2: Ultrapure spongy metal from the AquaRefining electrolyzers are then compressed into briquettes which the Company believes can now go directly to new battery manufacturing
Bypassing the refining and ingoting steps will enable recyclers that license and deploy AquaRefining equipment to reduce costs from labor and processing time as well as reduce the environmental impact of recycling and manufacturing new batteries. By helping to efficiently bridge this resource intensive gap between the battery recycling and the battery manufacturing processes, our new capability can potentially bring additional new benefits for our future customers.
Results from our initial production are very promising and Aqua Metals has filed a provisional patent on this methodology. We are engaged in ongoing R&D for this new, innovative process and expect to list it as a new offering for our licensees when testing is complete.