Ecobat Battery Technologies runs through the used battery recycling process it offers to customers across Europe.
There is a lot more to the Ecobat group than meets the eye. Besides being Europe’s largest specialist battery distributor, the group is also a leading collector and recycler of used batteries on three continents. In the EU, it fulfils battery collection services through operations in Germany, France, Italy, Norway, Poland, and the UK, collecting batteries from all over Europe.
The company’s processes ensure that more than 97% of material is recovered from the ‘End of Life’ battery during the recycling process.
The recycling process
Battery recycling typically generates three main elements: lead, plastic and sulphuric acid.
At Ecobat’s recycling base of operations, batteries are broken under controlled conditions to release acid, then crushed in a hammer mill and broken into smaller pieces for physical separation using water. Through the separation process, plastics float to the surface where they are removed for further separation before recycling. The lead components (plates, poles and paste) sink in the hydro- separation tanks and are removed for smelting. Before the paste can be smelted however, it is dewatered.
The battery paste and other lead- containing materials are fed into furnaces together with a reducing agent and smelted to produce lead metal. The grids and poles are also smelted in the same way. The lead recovered through the smelting process is then refined to produce various bespoke lead alloys, primarily for the battery industry.
In Europe, up to 75% of the lead material consumed is derived from secondary recycling rather than primary production.
The recovered sulphuric acid can be processed to produce sodium or calcium sulphate, which can be used in a variety of applications. Sodium sulphate, for example, can be used in detergent, glass and textile manufacturing. Calcium sulphate has a wide range of industrial uses, from the construction industry to the food industry. Plastics recovered from the recycling operations are further sorted into various fractions and, of these, the most valuable is polypropylene from the battery case. This is processed, cleaned and broken into chip, then dried, compounded, melted and extruded to form plastic pellets. New battery cases and other automotive products are produced from these pellets, with several vehicle manufacturers among the list of Ecobat’s customers.
In the UK, Ecobat Battery Technologies, formally Manbat, draws on the group’s expertise to provide a fully compliant battery scrap collection service. All collections are then recycled through its own group smelting facilities. This is not only complementary to its core specialist battery supplier activity, but also positions it as a true ‘closed loop’ green supplier.