01/09/2020 - 13:56

Lithium Australia testing fertiliser produced from recycled batteries

01/09/2020 - 13:56

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Lithium Australia could be near to closing another loop in the battery economy, producing a slow release micronutrient fertiliser from recycling alkaline batteries. The fertiliser is tailor-made for broad-acre farming in WA and early indications suggest the crops have responded well to the treatment.

Spent alkaline batteries to be used as feedstock for fertiliser.

Lithium Australia could be near to closing another loop in the battery economy, producing a slow release micronutrient fertiliser from recycling alkaline batteries. The fertiliser is tailor-made for broad-acre farming in WA and early indications suggest the crops have responded well to the treatment.

Spent batteries that are normally discarded to landfill are instead being shredded and processed at Lithium Australia’s Envirostream recycling plant producing a number of commercial products including fertiliser.  Lithium-ion batteries, which would otherwise be junked, are also utilised to create new battery cathode materials.

WA’s wheat belt, known for its sandy soils with low zinc and manganese, provides Lithium Australia a near perfect environment to prove up an alternative to conventional fertilisers with a customised blend of these important micronutrients. Lithium Australia said crop sampling has recently been completed on its trial wheat plots near Kojonup in WA.

The company employed a control group model to assess the effectiveness of the fertiliser, applying a conventional fertiliser during seeding at the same time as Lithium Australia’s recycled battery fertiliser in order to accurately evaluate its micronutrient performance.

Lithium Australia Managing Director, Adrian Griffin said:

“Using material from recycled batteries to enhance fertilisers can certainly divert toxic materials from landfill. Moreover, it has the potential to provide the fertiliser industry with more sustainable inputs to improve crop yields.”

“The slow-release nature of the micronutrients produced by Envirostream could prove a real advantage in terms of local crop conditions.”

With the fertiliser trial on track for completion by the end of this year, the company said the results of the study would follow in the first quarter of 2021.

 

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