Highly porous leady oxides for next-generation lead-acid batteries: scalable, sustainable, and advanced materials for future batteries

The aim of Ever Resource Ltd. is to revolutionise the art of recycling through science, ethical practice, sustainability, and technology. Our vision is to manufacture the world’s most advanced materials for batteries using an environmentally friendly technology: that not only reduces the environmental footprint, but also the costs, while also improving on specifications in comparison to the incumbent industry.

The lead-acid battery (LAB) market is forecast to surpass $84 billion USD by 2026 (source: Report ID 4076564, Research & Markets, January 2017). Despite intense competition from alternative and emerging energy storage solutions, LABs continue to deliver the most proven, low-cost, safe and recyclable option for energy storage. Indeed, LABs are used widely in automobiles, traction applications  and heavy industry, telecommunications, emergency lighting, renewable energy storage, medical equipment, railway backup systems, oil and gas exploration, and more.

The recycling of LABs via current methods is energy intensive. In some parts of the world, it produces ‘smelter smoke’ – a toxic mixture of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and very often lead particlates. For this reason, although LABs are the world’s most successfully recycled commodity item, the recycling industry which manages these batteries at the end of life needs innovation and modernisation.

The company’s patented hydrometallurgical process reduces the carbon footprint of the recycling industry by, on average 85%, and simultaneously reduces waste outputs by more than 90%. Importantly, the process also produces a key organic lead salt – an intermediate from which we can access a range of proprietary, highly porous leady oxides. The technology enables selective targeted production of alpha lead oxide; beta lead oxide; red lead; and lead sesquioxide. All materials are produced as nanostructured battery-active compounds and contain between 10 to 20% free lead – which means they are battery-ready and suitable for pasting.

1) M.S. Sonmez, R.V. Kumar, Hydrometallurgy, 95 (2009), 82-86.

2) M.S. Sonmez, R.V. Kumar, Hydrometallurgy, 95 (2009), 53-60.

3) J. Yang, R.V. Kumar, D.P. Singh, J. Chem. Technol. Biotechnol., 87 (2012), 1480-1488.


Dr Athan Fox Chief Executive Officer, Ever Resource Ltd, UK

Athan is an entrepreneur with a PhD degree in Chemistry from the University of Cambridge. He is also a part-qualified patent attorney and former technology transfer professional.

In 2020, he co-Founded Ever Resource Ltd in the UK to scale up and commercialise the lead battery recycling innovation which span out of Cambridge University in 2016. The technology, which has been demonstrated at 5 tonnes per hour continuous production of leady oxide, manufactures battery-ready oxide via a hydrometallurgical process that reduces the carbon footprint by (an average of) 85% and waste outputs by at least 90%. Between 2016 and 2020, Dr Fox helped secure more than £3 million GBP towards the scaling up and commercialisation of the technology.

In 2021, Ever Resource licensed the leady oxide recycling technology in the territories of UK, Spain and USA. In partnership with the University of Cambridge, the technology has been improved further and a range of nano-oxides including alpha oxide, beta oxide, red lead and lead sesquioxide are now produced.

Also in 2021, Dr Fox and his team and partners secured more than £1.8 million GBP to scale up and commercialise innovative technologies for the recycling of lithium-ion batteries. These projects are supported by Formula E, the electric vehicle motorsport, and other partners including WMG (Warwick Manufacturing Group, UK) and Birmingham University (UK). The Ever Resource technology and innovation programme also includes recycling of alkaline and primary lithium batteries; nanostructured materials for nickel-zinc and zinc-air batteries; and hydrogen.