Recycling of the batteries is one of the effective means of disposing off these batteries. For recycling these batteries fungi is one of the effective means of doing the same.
Major problem while disposing off the waste is that it is not occurring in a natural way mostly.
Thus method which is not environment friendly is contributing to degradation of the environment in various ways.
Source: American Chemical Society.
Fungi For Environmental Friendly Recycling Process:
For managing with the same, a team of researchers is working for using the naturally occurring fungi for the environment-friendly recycling process.
This process will be used for extracting cobalt and lithium from the waste batteries.
Jeffrey A. Cunningham who is PhD and also team leader of the project adding to the same says, “The idea first came from a student who had experience extracting some metals from waste slag left over from smelting operations.”
Cunningham’s team is working in developing the environmentally safe way for doing this with the organisms which are normally found in nature.
In this case organism being the fungi and then further putting them in the environment where they can further do their work.
Stains Produced by Fungi:
Pointing out over the same over his work which was presented at the 252nd National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) says, “Fungi are a very cheap source of labour.”
For further driving the process, Cunningham and Valerie Harwood, Ph.D. both at the University of South Florida are using three stains of fungi. This stains of fungi includes Aspergillus niger, Penicillium simplicissimum and Penicillium chrysogenum.
Team of researchers is first dismantling the batteries and then pulverising the cathodes. Then they are further exposing the remaining pulp to the fungus.
Extraction of Elements from Batteries:
Cunningham explaining the same says, “Fungi naturally generate organic acids, and the acids work to leach out the metals. Through the interaction of the fungus, acid and pulverized cathode, we can extract the valuable cobalt and lithium. We are aiming to recover nearly all of the original material.”
According to the obtained results, which used oxalic acid and citric acid, up to 85 percent of the lithium and about 48 percent of the cobalt from the cathodes of the spent batteries were extracted.
This acids being used were generated by fungi.
ACS which is one of the largest scientific society is holding a meeting here during 21st to 23rd August. It is featuring more than 9,000 presentations over wide range of scientific topics.