Green lead-acid recycling start-up Aqua Metals has signed it’s first licensing deal with global battery giant Johnson Controls.
Johnson Controls (JCI) will supply used lead-acid batteries, and receive AquaRefined secondary lead from Aqua Metals as part of the five-year, non-exclusive deal.
Speaking to BBB, Steve Cotton, Aqua Metals chief commercial officer, said they would not be ‘naming any states at this point’ for the JCI plant. But he did say the deal could lead to rolling out the technology into other US states.
The agreement covers three main regions in term of geography. Cotton said: “It will start with North America, and primarily the US, and then expand over and beyond that to include Europe and China.”
Initially, the agreement will cover less than 5% of JCI’s recycling needs, but this amount is expected to grow over time as Aqua Metals’ capacity increases.
JCI’s batteries will come from across the Johnson Controls’ closed-loop recycling network in the US first and other regions as Aqua Metals expands. JCI will alos buy up to all the lead that Aqua Metals can produce – but Aqua Metals will sell high purity (up to 99.999% pure) lead to stationary battery manufacturers as the AquaRefined lead brand is built.
He is keeping tight lipped on amounts, both in terms of batteries JC will supply for recycling as part of JC’s closed loop policy or the amount of lead that will be given back to battery makers.
Under terms of a multi-faceted deal, JC also acquired just under 5% of Aqua Metals outstanding shares.
The licensing deal marks another major milestone in the company’s progress after it produced its first ultrapure secondary lead ingots at its Nevada, US, plant in November 2016
Cotton said: “We view this partnership as a really very credible vote of confidence for the technology and sustainability. We really see it as a key step forward to streamlining not only the supply chain but the lead-acid battery industry as a whole.
“The great thing for us is to work with JC and be able to refine the licensing capability and see what it would look like for everyone else.
“This deal is a win, win, win situation; a win for Johnson Controls, a win for Aqua Metals, and a win for the industry.”
Joe Walicki, president of Johnson Controls Power Solutions, said: “Agreements like this are a part of our continuing strategy to invest in clean technologies, building on our commitment to create a more sustainable and environmentally responsible industry,” said
Aqua Metals opened its first AquaRefining plant in Nevada last August.