Technology company Aqua Metals launched a lead-acid battery recycling plant in McCarran, Nev. today that the Alameda, Calif.-based company says will revolutionize how lead from batteries is processed. The company says its proprietary technology, AquaRefining, is a cheaper, cleaner alternative to its long-standing forerunner, smelting. It will be available to recyclers as well as battery manufacturers who will have two options: purchasing the commodity, or buying into the technology to launch their own plants.
At an average cost of $2,000 per ton the past couple of years, lead has not been affordable to many who would otherwise buy the commodity. And recycling their own lead has been an option only for “the big guys,” according to Steve Cotton, Aqua Metals’ chief commercial officer. He believes AquaRefining will lessen the economic hurdle—cutting costs in areas from processing to transportation—while making battery recycling sustainable.