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Battery Recycling Process

Process Overview

This Process Flow Diagram illustrates the preliminary processing steps that batteries recycled with EasyPak recycling containers undergo. The process consists of:

  1. Battery receipt and inspection
  2. Sorting of conforming batteries
    (non-conforming batteries are returned to generator)
  3. Material sizing
  4. Metal recovery
  5. Separation of final product
    (Ni, Fe, Cr, Mn, & Zn-O)

Sizing and Alloying Details

Material Sizing

Material sizing is applied to the battery feedstock in order to equalize the heat transfer rate of the material. In order to heat the material evenly, all feedstocks placed into the furnace must be of equal size, or relative with respect to each other. For example, AAA and AA sizes heat evenly and so do C and D size units. But a large change in the heat transfer rate between AAA and C or D size units exist, so mechanical sizing practices are applied in order to maintain optimum furnace performance (melt- rate). Lantern types require an additional process step for the same reasons already described.

Alloying Operation

The alloying operation is made up of a molten metal bath of nickel alloy. The battery types and sizes described above are fed into the molten bath at a temperature of approximately 2,800F. During this process step, a metal separation occurs which is actually the recycling step itself. During the amalgamation of the alkaline battery metals (low-temperature metals), with the existing molten metal bath (high-temperature metals), the separation of metals occurs. Due to the large differences in the metals melting temperatures, the low-temperature metals cannot amalgamate with the high temperature molten metal bath (2800F); therefore, they must enter into a different phase – gaseous. In the gaseous phase, the low-temperature metals oxidize and separate, where they are collected as metal-oxides.

Final Product

  1. High-Temperature Metal Alloy (Ni, Fe, Cr, Mn)
  2. Recovery of the Low-Temperature Metal, Zn-O (Zinc-Oxide).