Accurec invests and signs long term contracts
By signing a new, unlimited cooperation contract at this year’s IFAT, Dr. Ing Reiner Weyhe, managing director of Accurec Recycling GmbH, and Dr. Hans Richter, director of Currenta Environment, strengthen their cooperation in recycling of lithium batteries. In the coming years, they will implement a safe recycling for up to 15,000 tons of lithium batteries “Since the beginning of our strategic cooperation, we have already treated about 7,000 tons of high-performance batteries and closed the material cycles on a large scale for the first time, “ Dr. Reiner Weyhe explained. “With the new cooperation contract, we want to intensify and strengthen our cooperation,” Dr. Richter continued. The exclusive partnership brings together two companies with designated expertise in the thermal treatment and mechanical processing of complex metal mixtures.
In its rotary kiln, Currenta is able to pre-treat thermally all types of market available lithium batteries – for example nickel-cobalt, lithium iron phosphate and lithium manganese oxide. In the temperature-controlled (< 600°C) rotary kiln, battery cells are opened and the organic components (electrolyte, plastics, etc.) are pyrolysed completely, without changing the state of contained metals. The advantage of the thermal pretreatment mainly owes to the controlled deactivation and the safe destruction of combustible organic battery components, which can make up to 30% relating to the total battery mass. These organic components have a high calorific value, which can be used efficiently in steam generators without burdens on the environment. Also the considerable amount of fluorine compounds, which would react with air moisture to form toxic compounds during manual disassembly or mechanical treatment, can be removed in a proper and environmentally friendly manner. Overall, Currenta’s thermal pre-treatment reduces the energy consumption for metal recycling and underlines the positive ecological balance of recycling compared to the metal extraction from ores. The inactive battery residues are returned to Accurec’s newly built plant in Krefeld. Here, Accurec invested 10 Million Euro within one year to build the most modern processing plant for Li-battery scraps and make it available to the market.
“A large portion of investment has been spent on storage and process safety,” Dr. Ing. Albrecht Melber, Co-managing director of Accurec, explained. “Our customers can expect a safe storage of their sensitive dangerous goods.“ With a fully automatized water flooding system, 600 cbm/h water in the storage area can fight possible battery fires efficiently.
“With a future-oriented permit limit of 60,000 tons per year, we are adapting ourselves to a growing market segment, although the technical treatment capacity is designed to 5,000 t/a as a start” Dr. Weyhe explained. In particular, the classification and batch treatment of Li-battery subtypes with different ingredients is part of the core competencies of the company. Moreover, the facility provides a modern, ergonomic disassembly line for Li-ion battery modules from electromobility, and a complex mechanical processing of the inactive battery materials from the thermal pretreatment at Currenta. As a result of the strategic partnership in industrial scale, the valuable metals from lithium batteries can be returned into the economic cycle in a safe, cost-efficient and environmental friendly way.