A private investor has announced a plan to establish a battery recycling facility at Athi River Township. This means there will be no need to dismantle batteries to harvest lead for other uses.
Betrilyf Solutions Limited, a subsidiary of civil construction firm Avcon Contractors, says they will regenerate old batteries for sale as second-hand at a cost of between 40 percent to 50 percent of new batteries.
In an environmental impact assessment (EIA) study submitted to regulators, the firm said it will apply the latest recycling technology where an additive is added to lead batteries giving them a new lease of life.
“The main activity entails visual inspection of old batteries, cleaning of the batteries and testing for condition, addition of the additive and recharging of the battery. The whole process is a closed cycle to reduce risk of waste and emissions,” it says.
Local stakeholders supported the investment saying it creates a new market for old batteries discarded by data centres, power and energy companies including solar generating companies and individual solar users, fleet and logistics companies as well as industrial users.
The EIA report vouched for the project saying poor battery disposal was environmentally hazardous, adding that Betrilyf can solve this problem by refurbishing batteries and extending their shelf life thus reducing demand for new batteries, as well as reducing battery waste.
Betrilyf says it is awaiting the conclusion of a 30-day public participation window where the National Environmental Management Agency (Nema) will make its decision on whether to approve or reject the project.
Battery manufacturers have however recently pointed to a shortage of raw materials for their factories.
They said used lead-acid batteries are finding their way to Uganda and Tanzania through porous borders where lead is recovered and exported to the Far East for the manufacture of automotive and solar batteries.
The manufacturers rely on lead extracted and recycled from used batteries to make the batteries.