Project type: Taster

Contacts: Dr David Zou, Materials Science and GreenPB
Mentor: Dr. Nicky Athanassopoulou

GreenPB (who were originally an i-Team) are in the early stages of commercialising a new environmentally-friendly method of recycling car batteries, invented by Dr. Vasant Kumar of Materials Science. The company has secured an EEDA Proof of Concept grant, and also won the first national Armourers and Brasiers business plan competition, and is now seeking further funding.

As a commercial-scale process, the GreenPB technique requires citric acid as a raw material, about 0.5 tonnes for every tonne of lead produced, so a low cost and reliable supply of citric acid will be important to the company’s future success.

The question for the i-Team will be to map out and investigate the possible sources of citric acid, how the citric acid industry works, and how significant the GreenPB requirement will be for the current manufacturers. For example, could GreenPB reduce their costs by using industrial waste from the sugar industry rather than the purified form of the acid? What grades of citric acid are available, and how does this affect the cost and available quantities? The answers will be a major input into GreenPB’s funding pitch to potential investors.