Start-ups aim to change car battery recycling, clean up world’s most polluting industry

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A handful of startups are trying to find a new way to recycle used car batteries, using water, chemicals and electricity to produce lead instead of the hazardous, high-heat smelting that has been identified as the world’s most polluting industry.

One of the first to bring a new recycling technology to market is ACE Green Recycling Inc, which has developed a room-temperature process that turns lead from scrap batteries into ingots, its Singapore-based CEO Nishchay Chadha told Reuters.

At its recycling plant in Ghaziabad, on the outskirts of the Indian capital New Delhi, the firm uses machines that run on electricity to refine lead components from scrap batteries into briquettes, which are then cast into ingots and sold to battery manufacturers. Plastic and other components are recycled separately.

Worldwide, the start-ups so far form only a tiny fraction of the lead battery recycling industry, which is estimated to be a $17.5 billion per year business, counting for just the lead value.

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