UK-based recycling development firm Ever Resource has been awarded £237,425 ($315,500) grant funding to produce lead oxides for enhanced lead-acid technologies from old batteries.
The cash from Innovate UK’s ‘Sustainable Innovation Fund (round 1)’ framework will allow Ever Resource to begin testing its nanostructured lead oxides in commercial lead-acid batteries.
The money will be split between Ever Resource and its project partner the University of Cambridge in the UK.
Dr Athan Fox, CEO of Ever Resource, told BEST it may not be a lot of money but the important message was that lead battery innovation was getting funded.
Ever Resource’s project objective is to selectively produce nanostructured variants of each major phase of the oxide, including litharge, massicot, and red lead to improve and to optimise battery performance.
The company— the 50% owned tech development arm of battery recycler Fenix Battery Recycling, which has a shredding and recycling plant in the UK— claims its method enables control of the crystal structure (phase) and size of PbxOy.
The University of Cambridge’s Dr Vimalnath Selvaraj will lead research efforts in partnership with professor Vasant Kumar from the institution’s Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy.
Fox said: “I personally coined the phrase ‘nanostructured lead oxide’ back in 2016, when I took out the license for the lead recycling technology from the University of Cambridge.
“I call it nanostructured lead oxide because the porosity is ridiculously high, which is why active material utilisation increases dramatically with use of our materials.
“We have been able to achieve remarkable uplifts in battery energy and power densities, so the purpose of this project is to scale up and begin testing the nanostructured lead oxides in commercial lead-acid batteries.”
He added: “To my surprise, others in the industry have started using the words ‘nanostructured lead oxides’ too, but to the best of my knowledge, you cannot manufacture a nanostructured lead oxide via inorganic lead salt routes (such as the lead carbonate route).
“Nanostructured lead oxides can only be produced via the calcination of lead organic salts.”