Lead battery recycler Gopher Resource has formed a research collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to improve its reverberatory furnaces.
The 12-month ‘Reverb Furnace Productivity Project’ began last month with the goal of advancing the sustainable nature of the lead recycling industry.
The Minnosota, US, headquartered firm Gopher aims to increase the efficiency of reverb furnaces, which recovers high-purity lead metal for use in new batteries.
Gopher Resource and ORNL will use the Tennessee-based organisation’s Summit supercomputer to develop new multiphysics reverb furnace models.
The development of the proposed model will be a first of its kind for lead furnaces.
The project’s main objective is to better understand the impact of various furnace design and operational parameters on overall energy efficiency, productivity and refractory lifetime of reverb furnaces.
Summit will model the multiphysics interactions that occur within the reverb furnaces to reduce the time needed to obtain computational results.
Dr. Alexandra Anderson, an engineer with Gopher Resource and the research project’s principle investigator, said: “The learning gained from this project will enable us to make effective design and process changes that increase the energy efficiency of our reverb furnaces. That will reduce the overall amount of energy needed for the continued recycling of lead batteries.”
The project is funded by a $2 million Department of Energy High Performance Computing for Energy Innovation (HPC4EI) Initiative meant to advance the national energy innovation agenda.
The collaborative team expects to begin seeing research results by mid-2020.
A reverb furnace is a metallurgical or process furnace that isolates the material being processed from contact with the fuel, but not from contact with combustion gases. The term reverberation is used in a generic sense of rebounding or reflecting.
Photo Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee