01/06/2021 - 15:19

Lithium Australia launches new battery fertiliser trial

01/06/2021 - 15:19

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Following successful field trials last year ASX-listed Lithium Australia, through its 90 per cent owned recycling division, Envirostream Australia, has launched into an expanded trial program to test the use of recycled alkaline battery material as fertiliser micronutrient across sites in Western Australia and South Australia. Two products are being evaluated for use in manganese-deficient soils across the four WA sites and one in SA.

Lithium Australia’s specialised trial-seeding equipment and progress at a farm site. Credit: File

Following successful field trials last year ASX-listed Lithium Australia, through its 90 per cent owned recycling division, Envirostream Australia, has launched into an expanded trial program to test the use of recycled alkaline battery material as fertiliser micronutrient across sites in Western Australia and South Australia. Two products are being evaluated for use in manganese-deficient soils across the four WA sites and one in SA.

Battery disposal remains a significant challenge for Australia’s waste industry.

Less than 3 per cent of spent batteries are being recycled and the remainder generally head to landfill sites. Lithium Australia is positioning itself at the forefront of innovative moves to divert the flow of battery waste to landfill.

The Envirostream trial will see a collaboration in WA with leading fertiliser supplier, Summit Ferilizers which has provided access to wheat and lupin growing sites for assessment of the effectiveness of Envirostream products.

Further sites in WA and SA dedicated exclusively to Envirostream trials are to be seeded with wheat crops.

Lithium Australia Managing Director, Adrian Griffin said: "Lithium Australia and its subsidiaries are committed to providing the battery industry with sustainable outcomes. The expansion of Envirostream’s successful fertiliser micronutrient programme into 2021 demonstrates this commitment and further positions Envirostream to support implementation of the national Battery Stewardship Scheme to ensure that as many spent batteries as possible are recycled rather than consigned to landfill."

The expanded trails will allow for Envirostream to assess the performance of the recycled battery materials across an array of different soil types, with micronutrients to be agglomerated with mono-ammonium fertiliser.

Nine treatments rather than the five used last year will be deployed at the dedicated Envirostream sites in WA and SA. Envirostream is looking for a similar or better uptake of manganese in the 2021 results.

Earlier this year it said the 2020 trial showed successful uptake of micronutrients in a field setting, with results reported to be in line with or superior to comparable and commercially available treatments. The manganese uptake showed a statistically significant trend over both the control group with no fertiliser, in addition to the other commercially available treatments.

Two Envirostream options to be used in the 2021 trials are a product of the company’s proprietary separation technology for single-use alkaline batteries.

The company has already seeded several sites as part of the 2021 trials, with the remaining Envirostream site in WA, west of Kojonup, due to be seeded this month.

  

Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@businessnews.com.au

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