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Emissions-free battery recycling facility will use electricity rather than smelting

ACE Green Recycling has announced plans to build a new plant in Texas to recycle both lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries.

From pv magazine USA

ACE Green Recycling haws said that it will construct a battery recycling facility in Texas that operates on a proprietary emissions-free system. 

The plant is expected to recycle both lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries – the key elements of both electric vehicles and conventional vehicles, energy storage, and mobile devices. Phase one of operations is scheduled for the third quarter, starting with the recycling of lead-acid batteries, followed by the lithium-ion operation, said ACE Green Recycling. By 2025, at full capacity, the facility is expected to process up to 100,000 metric tons of lead-acid batteries and 20,000 metric tons of lithium-ion batteries. 

Battery recycling is typically done by a smelting process that involves extremely high temperatures, often exceeding 1,000 C, while burning expensive and pollutive fossil fuels, and exposing workers to hazardous working conditions.  

Rather than smelting, ACE’s process is fully electrified. The company said this leads to an emissions-free higher battery material yield and a safer workplace environment.

At full operation, the project is expected to recycle more than 5 million lead-acid batteries, abate more than 50,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, reduce landfill dumping of more than 10 million pounds of hazardous solid waste, and recycle more than 15 million pounds of plastics annually. The facility is expected to create 100 Texas-based jobs.

ACE said it is also exploring opportunities to power most of its key plant activities with solar energy to address its Scope 2 emissions. The plant would be truly “emissions-free” if solar PV or other emissions-free generators are used as the sole source of power. 

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Due to a lack of sufficient recycling capacity, the US currently exports a large amount of its scrap batteries to Mexico and Asia while importing new materials back, leading to major value losses and an inefficient use of energy to ship these materials around the world. By establishing a large recycling center in Texas, ACE said it intends to alleviate US dependence on imports. 

“Texas sits at the heart of the world’s global energy revolution with key access to an abundant pool of top engineering and technical talent. ACE’s new facility aims to be part of that revolution and build a greener, more sustainable future for America,” said Nishchay Chadha, ACE’s co-founder and chief executive. 

“We are excited to establish our first North American facility in the state of Texas that will not only generate significant local economic activity but also contribute to a greener environmental footprint,” said Dr Vipin Tyagi, co-founder and chief technology officer. “By contributing to America’s battery recycling capabilities, we also aim to strengthen the country’s energy independence and build a more resilient future for the nation.”

ACE Green Recycling is an American technology company with global operations across Southeast Asia and India. It is set to announce new facilities in Asia, Europe and the Middle East by early 2023.

The announcement follows a US Department of Energy unveiled plan to inject $60 million into second-life opportunities for batteries once used for EVs. The $60 million comes in addition to the $3.1 billion funding for battery manufacturing, processing, and recycling nationwide.

“Positioning the United States front and center in meeting the growing demand for advanced batteries is how we boost our competitiveness and electrify our transportation system,” said US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “President Biden’s historic investment in battery production and recycling will give our domestic supply chain the jolt it needs to become more secure and less reliant on other nations—strengthening our clean energy economy, creating good paying jobs, and decarbonizing the transportation sector.”

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Source: pv magazine