Aqua Metals set to announce first site licensing for novel lead battery recycling tech by summer

by John Shepherd
'New process illustrates reduced processing and materials handling'. Image: Aqua Metals
The first site licensed to use Aqua Metals’ novel lead-acid battery recycling technology could be announced by the summer, the company’s chief executive has said.

President and CEO Steve Cotton told an investor call that "multiple candidates” were in line to potentially become its first licensees and "we’re continuing to seek to announce the first site in the first- second-quarter timeframe for this year”.

And Cotton said the "$20bn lead recycling industry, which feeds into the overall lead-acid battery industry”, had every reason to welcome the growth of the electric vehicles market – with every EV relying on recyclable lead batteries to power key electronics systems, in addition to their lithium-ion battery tech.

"Every time an electric vehicle is put on the road, the lead-acid battery industry grows,” he added.

'Providing equipment'

On planning for the year ahead, Cotton said "we now expect to begin licensing and providing equipment and seek to deploy the first licensed site, to consider other sites to contract with and to get AquaRefining into the hands of the industry”.

Cotton welcomed the company’s newly-minted partnership with German chemicals giant, BASF, which gives Aqua Metals exposure to BASF’s links with "many of the existing battery recyclers throughout the world”.

In addition, Cotton hailed a breakthrough step forward in "streamlining” the production process between AquaRefining and battery manufacturing.

'Reduced cost'

"We’ve confirmed from our initial testing that we are able to take our lead briquettes and go to directly into the oxide manufacturing process.” 

"Bypassing the refining and ingoting steps would enable recyclers that license and deploy AquaRefining equipment to reduce costs from labour and processing time as well as reduce the environmental impact of recycling and manufacturing new batteries.”

Aqua Metals said yesterday that it had filed a provisional patent to protect the new process.

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