Developments in Solvent-based Recycling of Lead-acid Batteries

Solveteq develops a solvent-based, low-temperature and low-pollution method to recover lead from used lead-acid batteries. Solveteq does not attempt to redesign the entire recycling process but rather address its most economically and environmentally challenging aspects. Solveteq’s solution will help battery recyclers to maximise the use of their existing infrastructure and generate additional revenue while reducing their environmental impact.

Solveteq uses proprietary solvents to recover lead at temperatures as low as room temperature. The Solveteq process was successfully scaled up from laboratory to bench scale using a custom-built prototype with a throughput of 1kg of lead paste per hour. The cost of solvent was shown to be a primary contributor to operating costs at the bench scale, with approximately USD 2.22 required to produce an equivalent of 1kg of lead. This cost can be reduced to USD 0.37 when the solvent is reused. The global warming potential (GWP) from energy consumption at the bench scale was shown to be already comparable with the GWP of the conventional process at scale, that is, 1.52 kg CO2-eq per kg of lead paste processed. Solveteq’s operating costs and the environmental impact are expected to be further reduced due to economies of scale, industrial synergies, efficiency gains and system design.

The presentation will provide an overview of Solveteq’s process development and trials.


Dr A.K. Ola Hekselman CEO and Co-founder, Solveteq Ltd.

Ola Hekselman is a chemist, who changed her research interests from developing the next-generation materials for Li-ion batteries to battery recycling in 2018. Her work with Prof. David Payne at Imperial College London on a solvent-based method to recover lead from spent lead-acid batteries led to the formation of Solveteq, an Imperial spin-out company, in 2021.

Solveteq is dedicated to developing low-energy and sustainable solutions for battery recyclers. Ola and her team received a Women in Innovation Award from Innovate UK in March 2023.

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