Recycling International – March/April issue 2023
Page 10 from: Recycling International – March/April issue 2023
of wear protection
we are SWB
billions in valuable materials are lost to wear each year
we advise our customers on-site in more than 50 countries worldwide
we are world leader in differentially hardened alloy shredder hammers
we are permanently researching pioneering solutions against wear
CHINESE RESEARCHERS CLAIM BATTERY BREAK-
The Southern University of Science and Technology in China has devel-
oped what is said to be an environmentally friendly method of turning
lead in used lead acid batteries into photodetectors operating in the
The innovative process extracts lead from the batteries to synthesise lead
iodide (PbI2) microcrystals with the required quality and purity levels.
‘They can be used to make photodetectors with excellent stability, repeat-
ability and fast response speeds,’ says research team leader Dr Longxing Su.
He adds ths is a far more efficient strategy for producing PbI2 from the
paste within lead acid batteries.
Recovering the lead is achieved through a one-pot process that requires
only inexpensive, easily obtained chemicals and no commercial precursors.
‘We believe this recycling strategy could significantly reduce the lead pollu-
tion resulting from waste lead acid batteries, which is important to the envi-
ronment,’ concludes Su. ‘The photodetectors promote the recycling econo-
my by creating a market for recycled lead. They can be used for a variety of
applications including optical communication, chemical analysis and imag-
As a next step, the researchers want to scale up the process to mass pro-
duce recycled PbI2. As well as benefiting chemical companies, Su believes
the breakthrough could also prove useful for making more sustainable solar
STEELMAKER ANNOUNCES WORLD-FIRST
‘GREEN’ STEEL PLANT
Thyssenkrupp Steel is planning a hydrogen-powered
direct reduction plant in Duisburg, Germany, saying it
is the start of the biggest industrial decarbonisation
projects worldwide which will ultimately avoid more
than 3.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year.
Germany’s biggest steelmaker has placed an order with
SMS, Düsseldorf, for the engineering, delivery and con-
struction of the EUR 1.8 billion facility. The plant will
have a capacity of 2.5 million tonnes of directly reduced
iron (DRI) and is scheduled for completion by the end of
2026. The overall project remains subject to European
Union approval under state aid provisions.
The contract award is seen as a ‘decisive technological
turnaround’ in Thyssenkrupp Steel’s more than 200-year
history. Hydrogen-based processes in DRI offer a signifi-
cant basis for manufacturing carbon-neutral steel. thys-
senkrupp Steel is planning to avoid as much as six million
tonnes of CO2 by 2030, more than 30% of its emissions.
The transformation to carbon-neutral production is
expected to be completed by 2045 at the latest.
SMS employs 14 500 people at around 100 locations.
The order is the largest single order in the company’s
history spanning more than 150 years.
Bernhard Osburg, ceo of Thyssenkrupp Steel, says: ‘It is
a historic day for Thyssenkrupp Steel and good news for
industrial climate change mitigation. Together with SMS
we intend to demonstrate that an innovative and sustain-
able transformation of the steel industry is possible in
Germany and Europe. We are thus creating the basis for
tomorrow’s green steel markets.’
Thyssenkrupp says it will be the first steelmaker in the
world to combine a 100% hydrogen-capable direct
reduction plant with innovative melters. Positioning two
melters immediately adjacent to the direct reduction
plant allows the solid input stock produced there to be
converted into molten iron immediately and more effi-
ciently. SMS will also deliver the innovative melters, slag
granulation and other auxiliary equipment, for example
Detailed planning and preparatory work for construction
of the direct reduction plant will commence immediately.
One task involves getting the construction site ready on
the plant premises.
REFLECTIONS ON A YEAR OF EV RECYCLING
Redwood has shared its experiences from 12 months of recycling end-
of-life (EOL) electric vehicle (EV) batteries at its pioneering plant in
Over the past 12 months, it has worked with Toyota, Ford, Volvo,
Volkswagen and dismantlers to collect and recycle lithium-ion and nickel
metal hydride (NiMH) vehicle batteries. As the first wave of EV vehicles
begin to retire from California’s roads, Redwood says its management of
end-of-life battery packs can be seen as a model for other states and the
battery recycling industry as a whole.
Over the year, Redwood has identified and recovered 1 268 end-of-life
packs of older NiMH and newer lithium-ion chemistries from more than a
dozen different carmakers. Fewer than 5% were unusable.
‘Lithium-ion represented the majority of the chemistry types collected and
we expect it will continue to grow as it is now the only type of vehicle bat-
tery on the market,’ it reports. The most significant cost of battery pack
collection and recycling is logistics and a key way to reduce costs is econo-
mies of scale through an increased collection volume.
‘Redwood is confident that, in time, as EOL pack volumes increase, the
logistics cost will decrease so that batteries will become assets that will
help make EVs more sustainable and affordable in the long run.’
It says its recycling process is already profitable for smaller batteries, such
as those used in consumer devices, and production scrap. As logistics
becomes a smaller component of the overall cost, it anticipates a similar
trend for the larger EV batteries.
Redwood has been allied with auto dismantlers, particularly the
Automotive Recyclers Association and California Auto Dismantlers and
Recyclers Alliance. ‘The dismantler community helped us to establish the
most efficient transportation routes and aggregate batteries at their cen-
tral locations and in return, they were appreciative of the knowledge we
shared on handling, packaging and transporting EV packs.’
The company notes that an extended producer responsibility approach
could be effective but calls for any such policy to allow carmakers either to
partner directly with recyclers or recycle the batteries themselves. ‘This is
paramount to ensure the market manages EOL batteries in the safest and
most efficient manner, while avoiding unnecessary costs to the battery
value chain. It also presents an opportunity for the industry to drive down
the costs of future domestic battery production and pass those savings to
But it does not believe that a single producer responsibility organisation,
similar to that often seen in the e-waste sphere, is an appropriate solution
for battery packs.
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