June 05, 2017 12:30:59 PM
SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): Oakland, California-based Aqua Metals Inc. has announced that its revolutionary AquaRefining lead-acid battery recycling technology has secured first patent. The equipment and processes involved obtained patent from Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), after passing through a series of rigorous examinations, the company press release stated. The patent No. 10-1739414 is named “Devices and Method for Smelterless Recycling of Lead Acid Batteries” and will be accepted only in Korea.
Stephen Clarke, chairman and CEO of Aqua Metals expressed happiness that the novel recycling technology has passed one of the toughest patent jurisdictions in the world. He hoped that this will be the first of many patents to be issued in coming months. The securing of the first patent is a landmark moment for the team and is a validation of the hard work and progress the team has put together, he added. The patent obtained in Korea-one of the world’s largest lead producers, will offer significant benefits for the company, Clarke noted.
The purpose of the patent system in Korea is to accelerate the development of technology though the protection, encouragement, promotion, and utilization of inventions, thereby contributing to the development of industry. According to KIPO, a patent must have industrial applicability. The technology must have novelty and an inventive step. The term of a patent right commences when the establishment of patent right is registered; it ends 20 years after the filing date of the patent application.
The company had hosted a tour of $29.6 million AquaRefinery battery recycling plant, spread over 125,000 square-feet building at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center (TRIC) in McCarran, led by company’s top management. Analysts from Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., Euro Pacific Capital and National Securities Corp. attended the tour held on May 31st, 2017. Representatives from Green Bank- a preferred provider for business and personal banking products and services was also part of the event. The visitors were provided a live demonstration of various processes including delivery of battery feedstock to the plant through breaking and separation, pre-AquaRefining digestion processes, AquaRefining modules and final shipment of recovered lead.
The revolutionary AquaRefining technology had recently won Platts Global Metals Award 2017 under the ‘Breakthrough Solution of the Year’ category. It had also won the San Francisco Business Times’ Technology and Innovation Award 2017, for being one among the dynamic and innovative companies in the Bay Area region.
The company had announced first production of more than 99.99% pure recycled lead ingot using the ‘AquaRefining’ technology in October 2016. The technology employs closed-loop, room temperature electrochemical process which guarantees elimination of toxic waste. The cutting-edge technology is more cost effective and environment-friendly when compared with the traditional smelting process employed by many plants. Aqua Metals has announced its plan to rapidly expand production capabilities in the near future. Apart from scaling up the Nevada facility, it also intends to implement the technology in additional facilities. As part of its expansion drive, the company had recently signed a partnership deal with Johnson Controls.