July 4, 2019: The dangers of lithium batteries when they enter the lead battery recycling stream are being tackled with a training toolkit launched by Battery Council International on June 26 for battery sorting staff.
In a 2018 survey carried out by BCI, responses revealed that 21% of battery sorters had not been given any kind of training in what is potentially an extremely dangerous occupation.
The training toolkit, which includes a video, poster and flyer, aims to show companies how to identify the differences between lead and lithium batteries; develop a lithium disposal plan; and deal with lithium batteries being erroneously placed in a lead battery pallet.
Due to their chemical composition, fires can occur if a lithium-ion battery is heated up, or is subjected to a sustained shock (something that is common in battery breaking facilities) which would subsequently cause ignition of the flammable electrolyte.
Because lithium batteries have a higher energy density than most batteries, they present a greater risk of a thermal runaway reaction that can result in a fire.