AkkuSer Ltd’s technology improves the degree of recycling of batteries and accumulators to a completely new level. There is no shortage of work since about 220,000 tonnes of batteries and accumulators need recycling a year simply at the EU level.
Batteries and accumulators are classified as hazardous waste. AkkuSer, which is based in Nivala, Finland, was the first to bring technology onto the market enabling them to be recycled in an environmentally friendly way. The first plant on the market using the technology was inaugurated in May 2006.
— The plant meets the battery and accumulators directive, which came into force in Finland in 2008 and which obligates producer organisations to recycle all their batteries and accumulators irrespective of their shape, size, composition or intended use, says Managing Director Jarmo Pudas.
— We have enough capacity to process and recycle all the batteries and accumulators collected in Finland. We process them and recycle them for reuse without putting a burden on the environment.
Batteries and accumulators are used as a power source in all wireless devices, such as cameras, mobile phones, computers and battery powered drills. Some batteries and accumulators contain significant amounts of cadmium, lead and mercury. In addition, they contain elements such as zinc, copper, manganese, iron, cobalt and nickel.
Pudas says that developing the technology was challenging. Issues that needed to be considered included no emissions, the treatment of any gasses, new regulations and explosive properties.
— We tested various devices which enabled us to get sorted products into a granular form. By trial and error, we gained enough knowledge on recycling gases and dust and their safe processing.
The plant focuses on providing a comprehensive service that comprises reception, sorting, product identification, the processing of reactive products as well as further processing for metal works. The company’s environmental management system is ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 certified.
According to an estimate of the Ministry of the Environment, around 220,000 tonnes of batteries and accumulators are brought onto the EU market a year, and around 5,000 tonnes onto the market in Finland. The amount is growing rapidly, especially in developing countries. Pudas says the current situation is interesting.
— We are responsible for processing portable accumulators in the EU. We receive products from, for example, the EU and New Zealand. We have the space and capacity to receive more materials. Various smelting plants are competing for products because they are also exhaustible metals.
AkkuSer is bringing a new recycling process for alkaline products onto the market within the year. — In Finland, recycling and environmental technology have gained a strong foothold. It is now time to look further afield and to seek partners and partner companies around the world and to make Finland a real cleantech country.