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battery recycling

US lead-acid battery recycler accused of exposing workers to lead hazards

Thu, 10/14/2021 - 11:07 -- paul Crompton

Lead battery recycling firm Gopher Resource has been accused of failing to prevent its workers from being exposed to “lead inhalation hazards”, a US federal workplace safety investigation found.

Despite warnings since March 2020 of unsafe measures of lead exposure, the firm failed to make changes required by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at its Tampa, Florida, battery recycling facility and smelter.

The company also failed to provide up to 300 employees with adequate respirators that could have kept worker exposure to hazardous substances at or below the allowable level, states OSHA.

Gopher Resource is a secondary lead smelter, recycling automotive batteries by separating the battery components to capture lead, acid and plastic, before processing those materials.

OSHA area director Danelle Jindra in Tampa, said: “This employer put their bottom line above the safety and well-being of their workers.

“Every worker has the right to a safe workplace, and they should never have to decide between their own health and earning a living. Continuing to put workers in harm’s way is unacceptable, and OSHA will continue to hold employers like Gopher Resource responsible.”

OSHA cited Envirofocus Technologies— operating as Gopher Resource— proposed penalties totalling $319,876.

OSHA also cited Gopher Resource for: 

  • Allowing cadmium, lead and inorganic arsenic exposure levels above the permissible exposure limit.
  • Not implementing adequate engineering and work practice controls to prevent lead and inorganic arsenic exposure levels above the permissible exposure limit.
  • Failing to provide an annual update of the written compliance program for cadmium, inorganic lead and arsenic.
  • Allowing workers to share aluminized jackets that were damaged and stored in the open, and exposed to lead.
  • Requiring workers to wear respirators that were not fit-tested annually.
  • Using shoveling, sweeping or brushing methods to remove lead accumulations.
  • Not identifying all hazards on entry permits.

OSHA also cited A&B Maintenance & Construction, a Tampa-based company that provides supplemental maintenance at the Gopher facility, for exposing workers to health hazards by failing to maintain a written respiratory protection program and allowing lead exposure in excess of the permissible exposure limit. 

A&B Maintenance & Construction faces $16,384 in penalties.

The companies have 15 business days from receipt of their citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Tampa facility

Gopher Resource acquired the Tampa facility in 2006 and since has kept an estimated 75+ million lead batteries out of landfills. 

Since the acquisition, Gopher has invested more than $230 million into the facility, of which $140 million was focused on protecting the health and safety of employees and environmental protection.

The 21-acre site has the capacity to recycle 50,000 automotive batteries per day (13 million annually) to produce recycled pure lead and numerous specialty alloys.

The company’s website says it invests 25% of its operating budget to health, safety and environmental stewardship.

Gopher statement

A Gopher statement to BEST read: “Gopher Resource is deeply committed to protecting our people, our community, and the environment. 

“We have spent most of this year working cooperatively with OSHA to review our entire Tampa operation and to identify areas where historical practices could be improved.  

“We have only just received OSHA’s report, and we are still reviewing it in detail, but as part of our continuous focus on protecting people and communities we have already implemented the majority of OSHA’s recommendations. Other recommendations that require further study have been given the highest priority.   

“We would like to thank our employees and management for their steadfast commitment to continuously improving safety and operations.  

“Although the OSHA investigation of our facility is now closed, we continue to work with OSHA regarding their determinations.  Notably, there are some elements of the report that we respectfully disagree with, including the item related to respiratory protection, which we believe is based on inaccurate data and interpretation.

“Moving forward, Gopher remains committed to continuous improvement. Since Gopher acquired the plant 15 years ago, our unwavering commitment to workplace safety has resulted in a steady and sustained decline in the average blood lead level among employees to half of what it was. 

“Employee lead levels are recognised by experts as a leading measure of health and safety and the effectiveness of efforts to protect employees - and we are dedicated to bringing them even lower.”

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US lithium-ion battery recycler promotes CTO to head of company

Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:34 -- paul Crompton
Ryan Melsert will become its new CEO

Lithium-ion battery recycling firm American Battery Metals Corporation has announced that its company chief technology officer (CTO) Ryan Melsert will become its new CEO. 

The appointment comes as the company prioritises technology development and commercialisation efforts, and aims to position itself for long-term growth.

Doug Cole is the outgoing CEO of the firm.

Melsert and Cole have been working closely over the past two years to set the direction of the company and to help it evolve, with Melsert leading the recruiting and hiring of company executives. 

Melsert said the company was in the process of reprioritising its resources to focus on the commercialisation of its in-house developed technologies within the lithium-ion battery recycling and primary battery metals fields.

Long-time founder-stage board members Cole, Douglas MacLellan, and William Hunter are also planning not to seek re-election at the annual board of directors meeting.

The board intends to assemble a search committee to qualify and nominate director candidates to be presented for shareholder vote during the annual meeting. 

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Arcimoto and Redivivus launch battery recycling partnership

Mon, 08/02/2021 - 11:03 -- paul Crompton
Arcimoto electric vehicle

Electric vehicle maker Arcimoto has launched a battery recycling program with lithium-ion battery recycling company Redivivus.

Redivivus will provide a battery processing solution to Oregan, US, firm Arcimoto’s manufacturing plants, and service and sales centers, based on its hydrometallurgical and electrochemical battery recycling Process.

The materials will be transported to a recycling line designed by Redivivus, where it will use its Redi-Cycle process to convert the materials into secondary materials.

One of the final products is a nickel and cobalt metallic alloy.

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BASF’s cathode expansion accelerates with German lithium-ion recycling plant

Thu, 07/15/2021 - 14:44 -- paul Crompton
BASF flags

Chemicals giant BASF is set to build a battery recycling prototype plant in Germany to extract key materials from end-of-life lithium-ion cells and production scrap.

The plant at BASF’s cathode active materials (CAM) plant site in Schwarzheide is scheduled to be commissioned by 2023.

The prototype plant will allow for the “development of operational procedures and optimisation” of technology to recover lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese from used batteries as well as off spec material from cell producers and battery material producers.

The recovered metals will be used to manufacturer cathode active materials.

Dr. Matthias Dohrn, senior vice president, precious and base metal services at BASF, said: “With this battery recycling, plus leading process technology for manufacturing of cathode active materials, we aim to ‘close the loop’ while reducing the CO2 footprint of our cathode active materials by up to 60% in total compared to industry standards.”

The plant’s location was announced in February.

Aggressive cathode expansion

In June, BASF is set to form a joint venture (JV) with Hunan Shanshan Energy to produce lithium-ion battery cathode active materials (CAM) and precursors (PCAM) in China.

German firm BASF will have a 51% share of the JV when it closes later this summer following the approval of the relevant authorities.

In May, materials firm Umicore and BASF entered into a non-exclusive patent cross-license agreement covering a range of lithium-ion cathode materials and their precursors.

 
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BASF’s cathode expansion accelerates with German lithium-ion recycling plant

Thu, 07/08/2021 - 10:21 -- paul Crompton
BASF's planned recycling plant in Germany

Chemicals firm BASF is set to build a prototype battery recycling plant in Germany to develop a method of recovering key lithium-ion materials from end-of-life batteries.

The plant will be located at the site of its cathode active materials (CAM) plant in Schwarzheide, with commissioning planned for early 2023.

The prototype recycling plant will allow for the development of operational procedures and optimisation of technology to recover lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese as well as off-spec material from cell producers and battery material producers. 

The extracted metals will be used to produce new cathode active materials.

Dr. Matthias Dohrn, senior vice president, precious and base metal services at BASF, said: “With this investment in battery recycling, plus leading process technology for manufacturing of cathode active materials, we aim to ‘close the loop’ while reducing the CO2 footprint of our cathode active materials by up to 60% in total compared to industry standards.”

BASF’s investment supports the European Commission’s agenda towards a European battery production value chain and is part of the ‘Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI)’ approved by the European Commission in 2019, under the European Union State aid rules. 

The plant’s location was announced in February.

Aggressive cathode expansion

In June, BASF is set to form a joint venture with Hunan Shanshan Energy to produce lithium-ion battery cathode active materials (CAM) and precursors (PCAM) in China.

German firm BASF will have a 51% share of the JV when it closes later this summer following the approval of the relevant authorities.

In May, materials firm Umicore and BASF entered into a non-exclusive patent cross-license agreement covering a range of lithium-ion cathode materials and their precursors.

 

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Firms partner to collect and recycle EV lithium-ion batteries across the US

Tue, 06/29/2021 - 10:37 -- paul Crompton
retriev EV lithium-ion batteries recycling plant in the  US

Retriev Technologies has solidified its position in the North American lithium-ion battery recycling market with two milestones this month.

Last week the firm announced its first volume shipment of recovered battery materials to Marubeni Corporation.

The shipment was made under the umbrella of their strategic partnership, which was formed in February to develop an business model for end-of-life Lithium-ion batteries.

The recycling program aims to take valuable metals recovered from used batteries to expand the circular business model for EV battery-to-battery closed loop recycling.

Earlier this month, the company teamed up with electronics recycler Hobi International to begin collecting and recycling large format EV batteries throughout North America.

The companies entered into a collaborative partnership to ensure lithium batteries used in EVs are collected and responsibly recycled to create value within the battery industry’s circular economy.

Rick Rose, vice president of Retriev Technologies’ Ohio Corporate Headquarters, said: “As more states adopt measures similar to California, which has implemented a ban on internal combustion engines sold in the state starting in 2030, the EV market will grow exponentially in the coming years. 

“The end-of-life management and recycling of these batteries is critical for environmental safety and sustainability, and it must be addressed now.” 

Last year, scientists at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) in the US demonstrated a proof-of-principle electrochemical process for recycling lithium-ion batteries using material from Retriev.

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MoU sets out plans to build North American lithium-ion battery recycling plant

Fri, 06/25/2021 - 08:47 -- paul Crompton
MoU sets out plans to build North American lithium-ion battery recycling plant

Battery recycler Primobius has signed a deal to enter the North American lithium-ion battery recycling market.

Primobius has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Stelco—  a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canada-based steel firm Stelco Holdings— to commercialise a recycling solution.

The MoU aims to form a 50:50 incorporated joint venture (JV) to process battery cells from scrap and end-of-life vehicles in North America. 

Under the JV, Primobius will supply a 20,000 tons-per-year cell processing recycling facility adjacent to Stelco’s proposed vehicle recycling operation.

The Primobius pyrometallurgical recycling process recovers materials from consumer electronic batteries, and nickel‐rich electric vehicle and stationary storage battery chemistries.

Stelco will supply the battery cell feed to the plant. 

Both firms intend to share information, conduct due diligence, collaborate and build a business case for a long-term commercial relationship between the parties. 

Stelco is looking to establish a battery recycling business as part of its broader initiative with major automobile producers to recycle end-of-life automobiles, and recover valuable materials for re-use or re-sale.

Primobius is a joint venture equally owned by Australia’s Neometals and German SMS group.

The US facility will be modelled on Primobius’ proprietary refining process following the successful completion of demonstration trials at its plant being built in a warehouse at the SMS group manufacturing center in Hilchenbach, Germany. 

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Fenix opens recycling facility in Scotland specialising in EV lithium-ion batteries

Fri, 05/14/2021 - 07:57 -- paul Crompton
Fenix Battery Recycling has opened a multi-chemistry battery recycling facility in Kilwinning in Scotland specialising in electric vehicle batteries (EV).

Fenix Battery Recycling has opened a multi-chemistry battery recycling facility in Kilwinning in Scotland specialising in electric vehicle batteries.

The fully licensed and permitted site near Glasgow is ready to accept batteries for storage and discharge, with material coming from as far as the US to be treated by the company.

The news comes after Fenix Battery Recycling, Ever Resource and the University of Birmingham received £955,000 ($1.3 million) grant funding. 

The funding was from the UK government’s Innovate UK Smart Grants programme, and will be used to develop separation technologies for end-of-life lithium ion batteries.

Damian Lambkin, commercial and business development director at Fenix Battery Recycling said he company’s development plans also include establishing educational and research facilities within the wider community in Scotland.

Fenix Battery Recycling also has a plant at Willenhall in the West Midlands, which is due to become fully operational once it receives its permit from the Environment Agency – a process which has been delayed by Covid-19. 

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JV sets goal of establishing commercial lithium-ion battery recycling in Europe

Fri, 11/20/2020 - 09:45 -- paul Crompton

Battery recycling firm Primobius, the German company owned by Neometals and SMS group, has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Slovakian lithium-ion cell maker InoBat. 

The MoU provides an evaluation framework for a Primobius-InoBat commercial lithium-ion battery recycling facility in Central/Eastern Europe. 

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Tesla effect attracts lithium-ion battery recycling firm to set up shop in north Nevada

Wed, 06/17/2020 - 11:44 -- paul Crompton

Mineral extraction and battery recycling company American Battery Metals Corporation— which is changing its name to American Battery Technology Company— has chosen northern Nevada, US, for its lithium-ion battery recycling facility.

The company chose the location because of the proximity of Tesla's Gigafactory, established road and rail infrastructure, and access to a qualified labour pool. 

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