- Battery manufacturer Johnson Controls International has acquired close to 5% of the outstanding shares in lead recycler Aqua Metals. The investment is worth an estimated $10 million, as reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Per the agreement, Johnson Controls will give Aqua Metals a supply of batteries to recycle and then purchase metals extracted from their recycling process.
- Johnson Controls will also be the first licensee of the recycler's AquaRefining technology.
Johnson Controls' battery operations are based in the Milwaukee area and the company says it is the world's largest battery manufacturer. This is the latest in a series of partnerships for Aqua Metals, which also include deals with Interstate Batteries and Battery Systems International. Aqua Metals is now planning expansion beyond its first facility in Nevada, which should help increase the recovery of batteries and keep such materials out of the waste stream.
In November, Aqua Metals announced the successful creation of its first 99.99% pure lead ingot and has sent samples to battery manufacturers throughout the country for testing. The company's electrochemical recycling process operates at lower temperatures than traditional smelting methods.
According to the EPA, lead-acid batteries have one of the highest diversion rates of any material in the U.S. and this new recycling method has the potential to make that process even more efficient.