Research Unveiled More Efficient Way to Recycle Alkaline Batteries

SEATTLE (Recycling Monster): Researchers of the Universite de Sherbrooke, Canada unveiled a more efficient and environment friendly alternative to recycle alkaline batteries. The method involves bathing spent batteries in water-based solutions to extract key minerals such as potassium, manganese and zinc out from them.

The paper published in the Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology noted that the technique makes use of hydrometallurgy, which leaches out metals using water-based solution. The improper disposal of spent alkaline batteries results in leaching of compounds such as potassium, zinc and manganese into the soil, thus polluting groundwater, thereby causing serious threats to environment and human health, it said.

Unlike traditional battery recycling techniques, hydrometallurgy technique is less energy intensive, as it does not require high temperatures and pressures to operate. The technique makes use of three different leaching steps. In the first step, most of the potassium is removed with the help of water. The second step uses sulphuric acid to remove most of the manganese. In the third step, sulphuric acid is combined with hydrogen peroxide to remove most the zinc.

The technique could extract 76.8% of the original potassium, 86.1% of the manganese, and 99.6% of the zinc from batteries.