Better resource utilisation and reduction in primary energy consumption in lead metallurgy

Rising quantities of used batteries worldwide represent a major environmental burden if the waste is not treated in some way. High lead content and other alloy components require recycling of old battery cells. The project participants are developing a treatment method that provides useful recycling of the raw material and energy contained in the plastic elements as part of the lead recovery.


Used batteries contain a high proportion of valuable metals and alloys. The constantly declining supply of raw materials and rising metal prices have made recovery of the lead content and significant alloys from batteries an economical option. In addition, better recycling of the plastic elements also needs to be pushed.
As part of this collaborative project, several work packages investigated the suitability of the residual plastic fraction and other industrial waste products as an alternative reducing agent for lead paste. In addition, the project aims to highlight the possibilities for recovery and reprocessing of antimony and tin.


  • Up to 50% replacement of petroleum coke with residual plastic fraction, there is no influence on metal yield. At higher residual plastic fraction contents, the metal yield falls considerably.
  • The carbon-rich heavy fraction of the inhomogeneous residual plastic fraction from batteries is suitable for use as an alternative reducing agent.
  • The use of pyrolysis coke or silicon as an alternative reducing agent proved to be uneconomical.
  • Due to the increased incidence of slag and a necessary increase in the melting temperature, residue containing iron and aluminium also proved to be an unsuitable reducing agent.
  • As only a 45% carbon content is available for reduction, excess heavy plastics need to be added.
  • The potential savings for coke can be derived using a mass balance for the furnace process.
  • A three-stage selective reduction method proved effective for reprocessing antimony slag. Raw antimony with a purity of 93% was produced.
  • As with antimony recovery, a three-stage reduction process was also identified as suitable for tin reprocessing. The final reduction stage produces a metal phase with a tin content of 93%.

More Project Information

Project title: Bessere Ressourcennutzung und Senkung des Primärenergieverbrauchs in der Bleimetallurgie

Project number: 033R012A

Project period: 2009 - 2012

Project region: Germany (Saxony)

Project contact:

Herr Prof. Dr.-Ing. Stelter
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
+49 (0) 3731 39-2047
+49 (0)3731 39-2268

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Source: German National Library of Science and Technology Hannover (TIB)