January 28, 2021: Lead battery recycling firm Aqua Metals said on January 25 it was working with BASF to try out the German chemicals giant’s electrolyte in its AquaRefining process.
BASF will supply electrolyte to Aqua Metals’ licensee facilities and will offer the AquaRefining technology to its recycler clients, Aqua Metals’ CEO Steve Cotton said.
Aqua Metals has no publicly announced licensee facility in place. Cotton said in December that he expected the first licensee deal to be announced in Q1 or Q2 2021 at the latest.
In an investors’ call on January 27, Cotton said: “The companies are going to co-operate to offer AquaRefining to battery recyclers — BASF has relationships with many of the existing battery recyclers throughout the world because they do buy chemicals to refine the metals and feed it to other parts of their breaking and separation and water treatment and management of their entire process.
“BASF has an interest in helping AquaRefining be successful so they can have more of a chemical relationship with those clients but they also see it as a sustainability improvement in the offering.
“The companies are going to explore enhanced, BASF-made electrolyte and additives for AquaRefining — and we are talking to them about the opportunities that we see to improve AquaRefining and the life cycles, maybe using less corrosive parts to further reduce costs, even improve throughput.”
BASF is known for its recycling lithium battery technology but does not appear to have stepped into the lead battery recycling arena.
“BASF is not entering the lead recycling market. We will support Aqua Metals with supply of ingredients for their process and facilitate globally the delivery of those chemicals as part of Aqua Metals business model in lead recycling technology,” said Ido Kadman, marketing communications manager for Care Chemicals, North America, with BASF.
“BASF has a global footprint and will support Aqua Metals in their effort to develop globally their business. Aqua Metals technology is innovative and fits to the BASF strategy for sustainable solutions.”
Separately, on January 27 Aqua Metals filed a provisional patent protecting a new process the company says it has tested for producing battery manufacturing-ready lead oxide directly from its recycling process.