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India to have the world’s largest greenhouse gas emission-free battery recycling facility

As the world moves toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions and more sustainable developments, there are still concerns on how current infrastructures can be made to be more environmentally friendly.

Reducing carbon emissions is on the agenda for all organizations today. But when it comes to the disposal of some materials, there are still risks to the environment. Batteries, for example, are not easily disposed of. While there are methods to recycle batteries, the reality is, they produce significant greenhouse gas emissions.

In fact, the traditional method of recycling lead-acid batter via the smelting process involves operating temperatures of more than 1,000oC. However, this method will soon be changing thanks to ACE Green Recycling (ACE).

ACE has signed a US $12 million equipment supply and licensing deal spanning 10 years with India’s Pondy Oxides & Chemicals to set up the world’s largest greenhouse gas emission-free battery recycling facility in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh, India. The green technology start-up will license its proprietary zero-emission lead battery recycling technology to India’s leading lead battery recycling company to recycle 40,000 tons of batteries which translates to around US $60 million every year.

Compared to smelting, ACE’s recycling technology operates at room temperature, runs using electricity, produces zero greenhouse gas, releases oxygen into the air, and minimizes solid waste by more than 80%. The only process where ACE’s technology needs any external heat is during the final melting to make lead ingots. ACE has also developed solar-powered electric kettles to avoid the usage of any fossil fuel.

As POCL exports its products to international customers in South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, the Middle East, the US, and Europe, the technology will reduce the carbon footprint on a global scale. The lead-acid battery is a key element in the automotive industry while also playing a crucial role in the renewable power storage and telecommunications industry.

According to Ashish Bansal, Managing Director at POCL, as a leading global player and pioneer in Asia’s battery recycling industry, POCL is constantly investing in R&D and keeping abreast of the latest technologies to be in step with the industry and customers’ ever-changing needs.

“ACE’s breakthrough technology will help us to stay ahead of the competition and at the same time positively contribute to making the global electrification drive climate positive,” commented Bansal.

ACE’s technology deployment at POCL is expected to start operations in Q4 of 2022 and will be scaled up in phases. Over ten years, the 30,000sqm facility is projected to recycle more than 28 million lead-acid batteries, prevent the emission of 500 million kg of GHG, prevent 40 million kg of solid waste from going into landfills, produce 17 million kg of oxygen enough for 55,000 people, recycle 28 million kg of plastic, and provide green jobs for the community. Longer-term, POCL plans to utilize solar power for the facility, thereby also reducing its Scope 2 GHG emissions.

For Vipin Tyagi, Co-founder & CTO at ACE, their world-class and fully automated lead-battery recycling technology increases lead recovery and are more cost-efficient than smelting while mitigating lead exposure to the surrounding communities. This partnership is the first major step to help decarbonize the global lead recycling industry.

Meanwhile, Nishchay Chadha, Co-founder & CEO at ACE pointed out that as the electric vehicle industry grows globally, there is a huge demand for an environmentally-friendly battery recycling solution as the world’s population pushes towards more sustainable and efficient consumption and production.

“We are also close to commercially developing our lithium-ion battery recycling technology and we believe our solutions will be a game-changer in the battery recycling industry and contribute to making global electrification sustainable,” added Chadha.

ACE aims to be an industry leader in the next five years and has so far raised US $10 million with the latest funding round led by Circulate Capital.