By Paul Ploumis
SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): Oakland, California-based Aqua Metals Inc. has won two major awards in recognition of their sustainability efforts. According to the company press release, Aqua Metals Inc. was named the winner of the Sustainable Technology Award in the 2016 IChemE awards program. Also, the company’s proprietary Aqua Refining Technology for lead recycling won special mention by ICIS in the Best Process Innovation award category.
According to Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), United Kingdom, the award is in recognition of the company’s innovation and sustainability efforts in revolutionizing lead recycling. The company had recently announced first production of 99.99% pure lead ingot from its flagship McCarran, Nevada facility. The IChemE Awards celebrate excellence, innovation and achievement in the chemical, biochemical and process industries. Established in 1994, the Awards attract interest from all over the world. The IChemE award recognizes organizations that make notable contribution in improving the practices and applications of chemical engineering.
The ICIS Innovation Awards seek to recognize and reward companies that show high levels of innovation in products, processes and ways of doing business, as well as providing benefits to the environment and sustainability. While making special mention to Aqua Metals, ICIS highlighted the special efforts taken by the company to make AquaRefining a tangible reality in 2016. It must be noted that AkzoNobel’s novel, biocide-free anti-slime coating for marine vessels, Intersleek 1100SR was adjudged the winner of the Best Product Innovation category in 2015.
Aqua Metals’ Nevada battery recycling plant located in the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center (TRIC) in McCarran employs patent-pending AquaRefining technology which ensures higher product yield and better product at minimized operation cost. When compared with the traditional smelting process, the technology eliminates toxic waste such as lead dust, sulfur dioxide and greenhouse gases, the company claims. The AquaRefining technology also reduces production cost significantly. It uses electro-chemical process to produce lead from recovered batteries, mostly from automobiles.
Stephen R. Clarke, Aqua Metals chairman and CEO stated that the two honors received in such a short time period highlights the magnitude of changes the company has been successful in making changes to the way lead is processed. He further stated that the company now aims to double its production capacity to 160 metric tons by end-2018, which will create several additional jobs in the region.
The collected batteries will be fed to a machine which will tear them apart, separating the liquid sulfuric acid in tanks and plastic casing. This will be converted into pellets and recycled. The process also separates hard metallic lead alloy, melts them and turn into ingots. It produces pure lead paste from the recycled lead.
Aqua Metals is based in Alameda, California. The company makes use of fundamentally non-polluting, water-based, room temperature process, unlike smelting, thereby reducing negative environmental impacts.