Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts Waste Technology and Innovation Study



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Dry Cell Batteries

  1. Current technologies


Current technologies for the treatment of waste dry cell batteries include pulverising them and using them as a feedstock in low grade steel furnaces or shredding them to separate their components. In a Canadian process Li-ion batteries are super-cooled, then sheared and shredded and the component materials separated. Metals from the batteries are collected and sold. The lithium components are separated and converted to lithium carbonate for resale. Hazardous electrolytes are neutralized to form stable compounds and residual plastic casings and miscellaneous components are recovered for appropriate recycling or scrapping. If the batteries contain cobalt this is also recovered for reuse. Manganese and zinc remaining in the process effluent are collected, filtered, and sold.146

A Chinese process recycles Zn-Mn batteries to produce Zn-Mn ferrite materials using magnetic separation and hydrometallurgy.147


        1. Emerging technologies


An emerging technology for the treatment of waste dry cell batteries is hydrometallurgy.148 This involves the leaching and dissolving of materials in acids or alkalis and then extracting them by electrolysis or precipitation. It is used to separate nickel from Ni-MH batteries.
      1. Wet Cell (Automotive) Batteries149,150,151,152

        1. Current technologies


Current technologies for the treatment of waste automotive batteries include:
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