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Fine grinding the answer for battery recycling?

United Kingdom – The UK’s Technology Strategy Board is funding a research project called ReCharge which revolves around a patented fine grinding technology designed to extract and recycle metals from discarded portable batteries in an economically viable way.

The method, developed by International Innovative Technologies (IIT), is said to reduce the ‘black mass’ solid inner core of alkaline batteries to a powder form. According to IIT, this renders the material suitable for treatment by different chemical and biological processes to extract the various metallic ions present, such as zinc, carbon and manganese.

With the IIT approach, specialist powder processing technology replaces traditional milling systems with compact, high-output, modular units. ‘The new vertical milling system is highly energy efficient and is therefore particularly suited to the fine grinding of hard and abrasive materials,’ explains IIT. The ultimate aim is for the technique to be applied to other high-metal concentrated waste streams.

ReCharge is run by the UK’s Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) and is supported by a consortium of companies including G&P Batteries and Augean. All parties note that, with the UK Battery Waste Regulations now in force, the volume of battery waste required to be recycled is rising quickly.

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