Deep Eutectic Solvents (DESs) are a relatively new class of solvents, first reported by Andy Abbott et al. in 2001. Unlike their predecessors, ionic liquids, DESs are typically composed of non-toxic and biodegradable chemicals. DESs can be easily synthesised by mixing two components, a hydrogen bond acceptor and a hydrogen bond donor, to form a new eutectic phase with a melting point much lower than that of each individual component.
The team at Imperial College London has identified a number of DESs suitable for the recovery of lead paste from used lead-acid batteries. The proprietary combinations of widely available chemicals are very effective at solvating lead compounds, including lead oxides and sulphates. Solubility levels approaching 590 grams of Pb(II) per litre of solvent enable lead recovery via chemical leaching or electrochemical methods. The presentation will discuss our recent developments focused on scaling up to a closed-loop, continuous operations prototype, process costs at scale and life cycle analysis to benchmark with the incumbent technology.
Dr A.K. Ola Hekselman –
Dr A.K. Ola Hekselman is a Research Fellow at Imperial College London. In 2020, she and Prof. David Payne co-founded Solveteq, an Imperial spin-out company, to further develop and commercialise a lead recycling method based on the use of Deep Eutectic Solvents. Ola is a chemist by training and worked with various battery technologies since 2009.