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13 September, 2017 - 10:56 By Kate Sweeney

Cambridge IP helps drive new recycling era

battery cambridge university

UK battery recycling firm Aurelius Environmental and Dr Vasant Kumar from Cambridge University’s Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, have won a grant worth over €1.3 million to develop a novel hydrometallurgical process. The IP is rooted in the university.

The Horizon 2020 grant is available to high growth, innovative SMEs from all over Europe that want to disrupt the established value networks and existing markets. 

With the University of Cambridge as a partner and sub-contractor, Aurelius has been awarded the grant money under Phase 2 (Demonstration, Market Replication, R & D). Aurelius has received licensing support from Cambridge Enterprise, the University’s commercial arm.

Technology director Dr Athan Fox said: "We believe in a fully sustainable business, where waste streams enter our processes and nothing but products leave; where multiple recycling infrastructures complement each other – one stream's waste being another stream's in-feed. 

“Our journey towards this vision begins here, with a technology poised to revolutionise the recycling of lead-acid batteries.”

CEO Miles Freeman, who is due to present a joint paper with Dr Kumar at a major conference in Malaysia in mid-September, says that the recycling of used lead-acid batteries is turning the corner to a “greener, cleaner and more sustainable process.”

He added: “With the advent of new electrolysis-based processes coming from the US and still under development within the EU, a new recycling era dawns. 

“There is indeed the need for improvements in quality of secondary lead and for continued advancement in lead-acid battery technology to meet the ever-increasing demand for advanced electrochemical storage capacity.”

Aurelius has taken up a process that was originally pioneered by Dr Vasant Kumar et al. at Cambridge University. 

Industrialisation and commercialisation of the process is currently nine months into its development and a full-scale production capacity plant is expected to be operating by Q1 2018. 

The technology is exclusively licensed to Aurelius, with Dr Kumar and his research team collaborating with Aurelius to develop, industrialise and commercialise the process.

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