Lead is the major raw material in a lead-acid storage battery.
The lead-acid battery is recyclable with many advantages attached to it.
Recycling an old battery to reclaim its lead content is not only socially essential but also environmentally required as well.
Recycling of lead-acid storage batteries is economical for everyone involved in the value chain.
For promoting recycling of old batteries, manufacturers have started buybacks of old batteries
Lead-acid storage batteries can be successfully recycled up to 97%. Manufacturers of batteries should be given credit for having organized recycling as business reasons as well as environmental concerns have been the driving force. The recycling process is simple and up to 70 percent of the lead-acid storage battery’s weight is reusable lead.
Over 40% of the lead supply comes from recycled batteries. Manufacturers along with retailers of batteries are working to make the collection of all batteries convenient resulting in BUYBACKS of batteries.
The goal of recycling is to prevent hazardous materials from entering water bodies, environment and to utilize the retrieved materials like lead in the manufacturing of new batteries.
Recycling of lead-acid batteries is essential and cost-effective as lead is easy to extract and can be reused several times. This led to many profitable businesses like smelters units in India where lead is recycled and the recycling of lead is possible.
Generally, recycling of batteries is expensive as it takes 6 to 10 times more energy to retrieve metal than the mining of metal but the exception is the lead-acid battery, from which lead can be retrieved easily and reused without a rigorous process.
Steps of Recycling of lead-acid storage batteries
1) Pre- Sorting
Pre-Sorting is done for safety reasons and to separate hazardous material.
Lead-acid is benign but toxic. Recycling starts by sorting batteries into chemistries. Collection centers place lead-acid, into designated drums, sacks or boxes.
2) Battery identification and labeling
X-ray technologies are used to separate batteries.
Lead-acid is the best battery that can be recycled with profitability. With almost 100% of lead-acid being recycled.
3) Thermal Oxidation
The subsequent process begins by removing the combustible material, such as plastics and insulation, with a gas-fired thermal oxidizer.
This exposes the real and open cells with metal content.
The flat cost to recycle a ton of batteries is $1,000 to $2,000. Efforts are made to bring the cost per ton to $300. This includes transportation costs as well.
To simplify transportation, manufacturers have set smelters plants in strategic geographic locations. Modern and hi-tech lead smelters are present near Bangalore and Pune, where recycling of old batteries is done and the lead is sold back to us in an ingot form.
This Recycling is a great boon for the environment and economical and also for all the stakeholders.
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