Pb recycler Aqua Metals files provisional patent for 'smart move' into lithium-ion battery recycling

by Michael Green
Aqua Metals' electrolyser at work. Now technology could help clean up in lithium-ion battery recycling sector. Photo: Aqua Metals
Aqua Metals said today it has filed a provisional patent to use the technology it has developed to recycle lead batteries to recover high-value metals from lithium-ion batteries.

The announcement came just days after the company said it was investing in recycling enterprise LiNiCo, which is expected to start production later this year at the Nevada facility it has secured from Aqua Metals on a lease-to-buy deal.

Aqua Metals said early phase testing showed "promise” for applying its AquaRefining technology, used for plating ultra-high purity lead, to plating the metals found in lithium-ion batteries such as cobalt, nickel, manganese, and lithium.

'Still focused on lead'

President and CEO Steve Cotton said the company remained "squarely focused” on commercialising its lead recycling business and "anticipate our first licensing deal in the near future”.

However, Cotton said electric vehicles and clean energy storage "will be key to the transition from our dependence on fossil fuels”.

"This will result in millions of spent lithium-ion batteries with currently no sustainable method for recycling. We believe that expanding our patented AquaRefining hydrometallurgical approach to recycling the high-value metals of lithium-ion batteries is a smart, long-term strategy for Aqua Metals and in the best interest of our shareholders.”

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