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Recovery Of Polypropylene From Lead‐Acid Battery Scrap

Gerhard Martin, Andreas H. Siegmund
Published 2013 · Materials Science

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The recycling of metal containing scrap is a common practice in the industry and has a long tradition. In the last years this development was transferred also more and more to organic materials, in particular to thermoplastic polymers. BSB Recycling GmbH, a company with a long experience in the treatment and recovery of lead from battery scrap, had recognized this exploitation at an early stage and challenged it by a consequent continuation of the idea to recycle materials other than metals without degradation and maintaining the quality. These efforts resulted in an economic and environmentally complying solution producing high quality polypropylene compounds at BSB beside lead and lead alloys from battery scrap. The raw material for the production of polypropylene compounds is shredded plastics from the separation of the casings of lead-acid battery scrap. The production of polypropylene with specific physical and mechanical properties is carried out by the accurate dosing of organic as well as inorganic additives. The result of the procedure is a novel product group “Seculene PP”, a registered trademark of BSB Recycling GmbH. INTRODUCTION The recovery of lead and silver by means of mining, smelting and refining in Braubach, Germany has a very long tradition. Favorable geological conditions made it possible to mine ores in the Braubach region as far back as 2000 years ago. First smelting operations can be traced back to 1691, which is the founding year for the silver smelter Braubach. In the following centuries the emphasis shifted from silver production to lead smelting. Since 1977, the current BSB (former Bleiund Silberhütte Braubach) Recycling GmbH operates a secondary lead smelter with a current annual production of approximately 30,000 t of lead and lead alloys. The smelter converts decommissioned automotive battery, lead scraps, lead-bearing wastes, blasting sands and plated lead foils using environment friendly technologies. BSB Recycling is a pioneer in Germany in the field of environmental protection and became the first German secondary smelter to be certified to DIN EN ISO 9002. Figure 1 Photograph of BSB Recycling GmbH in Braubach/Germany OVERALL PLANT CONCEPT Main source of raw materials in the BSB smelter is automotive battery scrap, which is stored in an acid-proof, covered warehouse. In order to achieve the maximum utilization of the spent batteries and recovering most of their constituents, a separation of all constituents is required followed by an upgrade to high value products. As illustrated in figure 2 it is, therefore, current practice to process the batteries by draining the sulfuric acid for collection, crushing the whole battery in a breaker and subsequently separate the different components of the batteries, which are grid metal, lead paste, ebonite as well as various plastics. A settlingfloating process using a hydroseparator is applied for the latter purpose. The separated lead bearing fraction paste is either desulfurized and metallurgically treated in one of the existing short rotary furnaces to recover lead bullion and generating a discardable slag or sold in the non-desulfurized form to the primary lead smelter of Berzelius Metall in Stolberg. The desulfurization of the lead paste is performed by means of soda or caustic soda solution generating lead carbonate or lead oxide and also yielding anhydrous sodium sulfate minimizing SO2 emissions and a high slag fall in the smelting process. The grid metal is molten in a short rotary furnace to obtain lead bullion. The obtained lead bullion is refined in a pyrometallurgical refinery removing all undesired impurities accompanying the lead in the bullion and, if required, alloyed to meet the various specifications of lead and lead alloy customer. The refined lead or lead alloy is then cast to 50 kg pigs. C o m p o u n d in g P la n t B a tt er y T r e at m en t an d S ep ar a tio n P lan t S m el t in g /M e l tin g S h o r t R o ta r y F u r n ac e R e fin in g B atte ry S cr ap S o da P l as t ic F ra c t io n P P M i ll ing P lant F lu e Du st G ra nulation P P C h i p s S e cu l en e P P P P C h ip s M i l l ed P P F lu x es R es id u e s D ro ss C ru d e L ea d P a s t e

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