Lead-acid batteries might be the most recycled product in the world, but the industry is still seen as toxic and unclean especially when smelting.
Now UK start-up Citrecycle is planning to change that perception with a lead-recycling process that is both ‘clean’ and able to be used in emerging markets such as Africa and India where large-scale smelters are not viable.
The company’s process uses natural solvents to leach and purify the lead, producing either lead paste, or metallic lead.
The company announcement comes as US start-up Aqua Metals prepares to open its first Aqua Refinery plant in Nevada. Aqua Metals claims its electro-winning process is the first ‘green’ lead recycling method.
Citrecycle’s CEO Josh George, told BBB: “Whilst Aqua Metals are also developing greener recycling, our process and system is much more exciting, we believe.
“Cheaper, greener, more profitable and importantly targets a currently untapped market – with an important and much needed aim of eliminating lead poisoning.
“We remain flexible as to where to build, but obviously the major advantage of doing it in India, is the vastly reduced cost.”
The technology is proven at laboratory scale, and the company is now preparing for larger scale, sustained processing next month, said George.
The Cambridge-based company is currently trying to raise £50,000, to build a quarter scale pilot demonstrator plant to show investors.
The company has attracted interest from TATA Steel, and Verdanta, but need a pilot to capitalise on the interest, said George.