Authorities in China are being urged to shut down “substandard” secondary lead production facilities as part of moves to boost the recycling of lead-acid batteries.
China’s lead consumption largely depends on the use of secondary lead, the chairman of the China Industrial Alliance of Renewable Energy, Li Shilong, told the Shanghai Metals Market Lead Zinc Summit in Guangxi Province.
The head of US lead-acid battery recycling start-up Aqua Metals has admitted the firm is “significantly behind schedule” in its production plans.
Chairman and CEO Dr Stephen Clarke (pictured) said earlier this year that Aqua Metals, which wants to commercialise a water-based recycling process, was preparing for “explosive growth” in 2018.
Indian lead-acid battery maker Exide Industries has reportedly submitted plans to set up a third lead smelter at its plant in Haldia, West Bengal.
Exide is asking India’s national government for permission to install the smelter amid soaring lead prices, the Mumbai-based English language daily DNA reported.
The US Battery Council International (BCI) association and the China Battery Industry Association (CBIA) have teamed up to jointly represent the interests of the lead-acid industry.
“Because BCI and CBIA’s members comprise 70% of the lead-acid battery manufacturing companies in the world, this partnership will create a unified voice for the industry and allow both associations to better serve their members,” said Mark Thorsby, executive vice-president of BCI.
IBM, AT&T and Sprint have stopped exporting used lead batteries to Mexican recyclers.
The US technology and communication firms have concerns that battery recyclers in Mexico fail to meet adequate health and environmental standards.
The Chinese government is considering setting up a fund to subsidise lead producers using recycled lead-acid batteries.
Zhang Weiqian, analyst at research firm Antaike, said the government is likely to give the subsidies to large companies and well-equipped processors that are not running at full capacity.
California's South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) Hearing Board has given Exide permission to reopen its Vernon lead smelter after the company installed environmental protections.
The protections include air quality control equipment that monitors arsenic emissions and stops lead-contaminated dust from being released during upgrades. Exide is also obliged to submit monthly status reports to the AQMD Hearing Board.
Stricter emission guidelines have been approved by the Californian air-quality management agency to regulate arsenic and other toxic substances from lead-acid battery recycling plants.
The revised targets mean Exide Technologies’ Vernon smelter plant and Quemetco’s battery recycling plant in Industry must adhere to new requirements from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD). The restrictions limit arsenic emissions to 11.3 kg per year until 2015 and 4.5 kg per year thereafter. Benzine emissions must be limited to 204 kg per year. The ambient concentration of arsenic cannot exceed 10 nanograms per cubic meter.