Over the last two decades, process improvements in the recycling of lead-acid batteries have improved the industry’s image, shifting perception from a simple heat and melt process to one of a complex metallurgical operation capable of producing high-quality refined lead, lead alloys and saleable by-products
Indeed, the recycling of a used battery is not just about recovering the lead. The spent energy storage device contains many other elements added to the battery to make it work effectively and in many instances maintenance free. For example, barium and carbon are added as expanders, antimony, arsenic and tin, to name a few, are addedto the alloys and, of course, sulphur, one of the keys to the battery. We can add to that silica from the separators and many polymer types in the fibres and floc to hold the active material together. Current smelting and refining techniques treat many of these elements during operations, but a few go unnoticed in the process.
With the development of novel aqueous processes for lead recycling, many ‘hidden’ elements which present no issues for pyro-recyclers will need to be controlled. This presentation will look at these ‘hidden’ elements, their deportment, and some of the challenges they present for the new players.
Mr Mark Stevenson
Mark Stevenson has been involved in the lead smelting and battery industry for the past 41 years. His career has covered all facets of primary and secondary lead research and production and battery development working in numerous roles over these years. He is currently the Technical Director for Global Lead Technologies and holds numerous positions throughout the world including Chairman of the Asian Battery and Secondary Lead conferences.
Darren Nelson is Chemical Engineer, graduating from the University of Newcastle with first class honors in 1996. Darren spent the early part of his career working in primary lead and zinc smelters with a focus on blast furnaces, zinc roasters and metal refining. Since 2007 Darren has focused on the secondary lead field, working at Australian Refined Alloys Sydney and Melbourne facilities before moving in 2010 to manage the operations at the engitec plant of Enirgi Power Storage in Wagga Wagga. Darren has expertise in all facets of process operations, including business economics, process improvements, factory expansions and obtaining government approvals.
Darren retired in 2019 and now operates a consulting engineering business, Anglesite Management.