Dr R Vasant Kumar works at the University of Cambridge and he and his team have recently found a new way of recycling lead acid batteries. The new method has many advantages over the previous ones as the process requires less energy, is more cost effective and releases fewer toxic fumes. The technology that makes this possible is on show this week at a conference in India.
These kind of batteries are commonly used in industry as well as cars and they can be recharged many times. There is a point where they cannot charge any more and the batteries have to be recycled.
Developed countries in Europe and America have excellent battery recycling rates with almost all batteries being recycled. In developing nations, such as India, Russia and China, the recycling rates are much lower. Rates are lower because these countries simply do not have the facilities to process used batteries on a large enough scale.
The work by Dr Kumar should change this though as his process only requires around one tenth of the energy previously needed. It can also be operated on a much smaller scale than traditional recycling. The university is currently seeking commercial partners.