Spanish firm to operate pilot project to recycle batteries

New process aims to highlight the extracting of essential metals from batteries.

February 26, 2014
RTGE Staff
Legislation & Regulations

Spanish company Tecnalia has announced plans to operate a pilot recycling project at a number of battery recycling plants that will be able to extract nickel, lithium, cobalt and lanthanides from scrap batteries. The company says that the recycling project will use novel task-specific ionic liquids (TSILs) to extract the metals from batteries. The goal of the pilot project is to demonstrate the process to the industry at large.

In a press release, the company notes that various TSILs will be considered that are low-cost, non-toxic, environmentally benign and require minimal or no processing to reuse them. The battery recycling processes will be up-scaled to a pilot system using standard hydrometallurgical equipment and will include other concepts to improve the process. The pilots will be operated in an industrial setting at battery recycling plants and demonstrated to the wider recycling and battery communities.

The company expects the technology to accomplish the the following:
•    substantially reduce landfill waste by recovering recyclable metals of high purity
•    reducing critical metal consumption by increasing recycling efficiencies of spent battery waste. Hence, high purity recovered metals can be recycled into new batteries rather than landfilling or in the case of nickel, processed into lower value stainless steel.
•    substantially reducing environmental impact by introducing more sustainable hydrometallurgical processing to replace current standard pyrometallurgical processes. This will reduce energy consumption and emissions of CO2 and other pollutants.
•    increasing the capability of the SME community to carry out the complete recycling process, thereby taking advantage of the potential value chain of critical and high value metals markets.