Aqua Metals Inc., headquartered in Alameda, California, which is commercializing an electrochemical lead recycling technology called AquaRefining, says it has installed a retrofit package on one of its modules designed to address a condition in which lead recovered during the AquaRefining process gets hung up on the AquaRefining modules’ exit chutes. (For a profile on Aqua Metals, click here.)
The company announced Dec. 1, 2017, that it believed it had developed a solution to the “sticky lead” problem.
Following that announcement, initial testing of the solution was completed using one electrolyser during the remainder of December 2017, Aqua Metals says. This solution was then expanded to one full module, comprised of six electrolysers, and operated during January and early February. The retrofitted module has completed a series of tests, including operation of more than 20 hours over a four-day period. AquaRefined lead produced during this period has been converted into ingots, the company says.
Aqua Metals has approved the electrolyser retrofit design for production. The solution is being applied to all 16 AquaRefining modules, and the modules are expected to be placed into commercial operation on a rolling basis, the company says.
Aqua Metals says it is implementing additional improvements to the plant, including the breaker, separation systems, electrolyte production and ingot line, to scale up its operations.
“Our technical and operations teams rose to the challenge by putting significant time, effort and analysis into developing and validating a solution to the sticky lead issue,” says Stephen Clarke, CEO of Aqua Metals. “We look forward to discussing our progress on our next investor call.”
A video showing the updated AquaRefining module in operation can be seen here.