The recycling of batteries faces a huge challenge in constant transformation, arising from the emergence of new types of batteries, new chemical compounds used for their manufacture and new manufacturing technologies. At the same time, the European Union is becoming more aware and committed to achieving the recovery and use of spent batteries and batteries. For this, the European Directive 493/2012 aims to achieve a collection rate of 50% of batteries and batteries used in Europe.
In Spain the collection of batteries was 2,985 tons (according to the latest EBRA report), with France being the main collector in Europe. For this year we intend to reach double the tons collected. In order to achieve these objectives of the European Union, it is necessary to address various technological challenges, among them, to make better use of the recoverable products of these batteries. This is the challenge that have been marked Envirobat España S.L. And CSIC, recovery of the valuable metals that contain the batteries and batteries.
In Spain there are also Envirobat España S.L. Two other alkaline battery treatment plants out of use. The current treatment capacity of Envirobat España S.L. Is more than 3,000 tons / year of batteries. The treatment process of the Zn / C and alkaline batteries at the end of their useful life carried out by Envirobat España S.L., consists of stages of grading, grinding and separation of components. At the end of this process, steel is obtained; Paper / cardboard and black mass. Steel and paper / cardboard are valued.
The black mass consists mainly of oxides of zinc and manganese, salts and graphite. This mass is the starting point that the ENVIROBAT-CSIC Technology employs for the recovery of zinc and manganese.
Currently in Spain for the recovery of Cinc is used a Pirometalurgical Technology (Waelz Process), developed for the treatment of steel powders, waste produced in the manufacture of steel (Zn content of 20% or more) and can be Apply to the recovery of the existing Zn in the black mass. This technology does not recover the Mn. The final product obtained is Waelz oxide, a mixture of oxides of zinc and other metals, together with sodium chlorides and fluorides.
While it is the technology currently applied for the treatment of zinc-containing waste, it has many drawbacks. Hydrometallurgical technology developed by Envirobat España S.L. And CSIC is more advanced and allows to obtain final products of higher quality, eliminating much of the environmental problems caused by the pyrometallurgical process.
Envirobat España S.L. And CSIC develop a process for the recovery of high purity Zn and Mn at the level of pilot-demonstrative plant using a hydrometallurgical technology. It is based on the highly selective extraction of zinc and manganese compounds previously separated from other metals (Fe, Zn, Cd and Hg mainly).
Its main advantages are:
- Be the most innovative technology available.
- Be the technology of lower energy consumption.
- Be the technology that produces the most pure commercial products.
This project is part of a line of Research, Development and Innovation that Envirobat España S.L. Is developing with the aim of obtaining an integral use of used batteries and batteries, actively contributing to the Circular Economy in the European Union