A novel process on the recovery of zinc and manganese from spent alkaline and zinc-carbon batteries

J Hazard Mater. 2021 Jan 8;411:124928. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.124928. Online ahead of print.


Spent alkaline and zinc-carbon batteries contain valuable elements (notably, Zn and Mn), which need to be recovered to keep a circular economy. In this study, the black mass materials from those spent batteries are pyrometallurgically treated via a series of process steps in a pilot-scale KALDO furnace to produce an Mn-Zn product, a ZnO product, and an MnO (manganese monoxide) product, toward applications of Mn-Zn micronutrient fertilizer, zinc metal, and manganese alloy, respectively. After an oxidative roasting step, an Mn-Zn product, containing 43% Mn, 22% Zn, and negligible amounts of toxic elements (notably, Cd, Hg, and Pb), could be produced, being suitable for the micronutrient fertilizer application. After a reductive roasting step, a ZnO product and an MnO product are produced. The attained ZnO product, containing up to 84.6% ZnO, is suitable for zinc metal production when the leaching steps are taken to remove most of the Cl and F in the product. The attained MnO product, containing up to 91.7% MnO, is of premium quality for manganese alloy production, preferably for SiMn alloy production due to its low phosphorus content. The proposed application scenarios could substantially improve the recovery efficiency of those spent batteries.

Keywords: Alkaline and zinc-carbon batteries; KALDO furnace; Pyrometallurgy; Recycling.