Aqua Metals Inc., headquartered in Alameda, California, has announced that Johnson Controls International (JCI), the world’s largest manufacturer and recycler of lead-acid vehicle batteries, has provided the company with an official vendor approval to receive its finished lead at Johnson Controls’ manufacturing facilities. The approval process consisted of a “stringent review” of Aqua Metals’ lead to verify it consistently met Johnson Controls’ specifications, according to a news release from Aqua Metals. (To read an article about Aqua Metals and Johnson Controls’ business relationship, click here.)
“For more than 130 years, we’ve focused on smarter ways to use less energy and resources by using old batteries as the raw materials for new ones,” says Brian Wycklendt, Johnson Controls director of lead and recycling strategy. “Our closed loop system for designing, building, recovering and recycling vehicle batteries has been recognized as one of the world’s most effective examples of circular economy. Our partnership with Aqua Metals and other clean-tech partners will help us to fulfill our commitment to creating a more sustainable and environmentally responsible industry.”
“Official vendor approval is a significant milestone and an important step in the relationship between Aqua Metals and Johnson Controls,” says Steve Cotton, Aqua Metals president. “It shows the confidence Johnson Controls has in the consistency and quality of our lead production and further validates the AquaRefining process. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Johnson Controls to meet their goals for more sustainable product offerings.”
Aqua Metals says its patented AquaRefining technology uses a room-temperature, water-based process that emits less pollution than traditional smelting. The modular systems are designed to allow the company to scale lead acid recycling production capacity by licensing the AquaRefining technology to partners. The company’s recycling operation is based in Nevada’s Tahoe Reno Industrial Complex.
In February 2017, Johnson Controls finalized an agreement covering North America, China and Europe for Aqua Metals’ electrochemical battery recycling technology. Under terms of the deal, Johnson Controls, which has its North American operational headquarters in Milwaukee, took a stake in Aqua Metals.
Johnson Controls recently announced the sale of its Power Systems Division (PSD), which includes its lead acid battery manufacturing and recycling division, to Toronto-based Brookfield Business Partners LP.
Alison Ziegler, who handles investor relations for Aqua Metals says, "Nothing should really change" with the companies' partnership as a result of the sale. "Aqua Metals is fully engaged with JCI PSD on a multitude of fronts to further its partnership inclusive of product certification of AquaRefined lead and progressing towards a joint development agreement with a target of April of 2019. Aqua Metals will continue to work with JCI PSD during the transformation, and they have seen no slowdown of interactions between the parties."
She adds, "JCI/Tyco main company is realigning their focus on building automation and controls as a business, which prompted the divestiture of JCI PSD.
"Brookfield is a patient investor in the infrastructure and renewables space, and in the company's view a great partner for JCI PSD as they spin off and transform into a new brand," Ziegler adds.