As the lead-acid industry looks to diversify, one area tailor made for the chemistry is energy storage systems for off-grid energy supply– but it could hinge on creating clean small scale smelters.
Vasant Kumar, from the Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy, University of Cambridge , made the announcement at the 4th International Lead Recycling Conference.
Kumar said: “If we focus on small scale off-grid systems in remote areas then we also need green system of recycling lead-acid batteries on a small scale, which is critical so we need to convert renewable energy solutions into a environmental issue.”
He said a new technology for safely recovering lead from batteries in small-scale units had been developed at the University of Cambridge.
The method involves dissolution of the lead-bearing active components of battery paste in an aqueous solution of carboxylic acids derived from plants, followed by precipitation of lead-bearing organic crystals.
Packs of lead–acid batteries are used in rural off-grid schemes for storing energy during peak energy production from renewable sources such as photovoltaic cells.