Aqua Metals, the US lead-acid battery-recycling start-up, is ramping up its commercial fightback by completing its “first24-hour run of continuous operations” of lead production after months of production setbacks.
The company confirmed on 5 March it had completed the move following modifications to its AquaRefining facility in Nevada to resolve a “sticky lead” condition that had hampered production.
Aqua Metals said the 24-hour testing run produced around 2.4 metric tonnes of AquaRefined lead using the electrolyser retro-fit design, “which meets the company’s objectives”.
“Moreover, the (AquaRefining) module achieved this output using approximately 13% less energy than its design basis, in part as a result of the modifications developed to resolve the sticky lead issue,” the company said.
Chairman and CEO Dr Stephen Clarke said: “I believe this is an important milestone, which further validates our solution to the sticky lead issue we encountered previously. It demonstrates our ability to solve challenging technical issues and, in this case, to generate potential benefits such as reduced AquaRefining energy, in doing so.”
“We look forward to completing the retrofit process for all 16 modules and scaling up production over the course of 2018,” Clarke said.
Aqua Metals, which is working to commercialise a water-based recycling process, revealed the sticky lead condition last December. In January, the company pledged to “vigorously” defend itself against allegations that it had been “misleading” investors about its technology— made after the firm posted further losses for the third quarter of 2017.
Meanwhile, AquaMetals said chief financial officer Mark Weinswig had resigned but would continue to assist the firm “during a transition period”. The company said Thomas Murphy, a founder and former CFO of the firm, would rejoin on an interim basis.