The 70,000-square foot facility can recycle up to 25,000 metric tons of used lead acid battery ensuring safety for workers and the environment Image Credit: Supplied

Dubatt Battery Recycling, a joint venture between the Regency Group for Corporate Management and Seashore Group, today broke ground on a 70,000-square foot, first-of-its-kind, fully integrated lead acid battery (LAB) recycling plant at Dubai Industrial City.

Spread over a land area of 154,000 sqft and being developed at an investment of Dh110 million, the state-of-the-art facility will contribute to the UAE Circular Economy Policy and Sustainability Goals by transforming used batteries into lead ingots and plastic chips for reuse by battery manufacturers.

Unveiling the details of Dubatt at a press conference, promoters said the plant is scheduled to be fully operational by January 2023. Earlier in the day, the groundbreaking ceremony attended by Saud Abu Al Shawareb, Managing Director, Dubai Industrial City, was held in the presence of delegates from various government officials and VIPs.

The guests of honor at the ceremony included Abdul Majeed Abdul Azeez Saifaie, Director, Waste Management Department, Dubai Municipality, and Abdullah Al Mahri, Director, Investments and Stakeholder Management, Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology.

”The UAE’s sustainability agenda is catalyzing the rise and expansion of innovative businesses working to reduce our ecological footprint through sustainable solutions. As the region’s leading industrial hub, it is part of our purview to complement these efforts and support our leadership’s vision for a clean future by providing enabling infrastructure and framework that supports the reclamation of hazardous materials like lead and plastic into reusable products,” said Saud Abu Al Shawareb.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dubatt Battery Recycling to our growing roster of cutting-edge recycling plants that will serve as a beacon of green technology and pave the way for a sustainable and healthy future in the region," he added.

“Dubatt is an inspirational investment from the UAE Circular Economy Policy and Sustainability Goals. The project has been launched under the patronage and approvals from various government entities such as Dubai Municipality, Dubai Environment, Ministry of Industries and Advanced technology and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. Upon completion, we will act as an organized recycler and waste management facility for ULA batteries thereby promoting reduction of carbon footprint and climate change,” said Shamsudheen Binmohideen, Chairman of the entity at the press conference.

The press conference was also addressed by Ali Ibrahim, Deputy Director General of Dubai Economy, Saeed Alawadi, CEO, Dubai Industries and Exports and Giacomo Civettilo, Founder and Director for SERI Group, Italy.

The Dubatt plant will start with a 10 ton/hour battery breaker, 4 cubic meter smelter and 4 refinery kettles. Initial capacity is to recycle up to 25,000 metric tonnes of ULABS (Used lead acid batteries) annually and produce 14,000 tonnes of lead ingots and 1,750 tonnes of plastic chips which will be sold to battery manufacturers, medical, fishing, and other industrial sectors. This accounts for recycling around 35% of the lead acid battery scrap generated in the UAE.

The plant machinery and technology are provided by FIB SPA, part of SERI Group Italy who are the pioneers in battery recycling technology with expertise in setting up numerous plants across the world.

Environmental concern

“A study we undertook found that the UAE produces approximately 6,000 metric tons of batteries per month and globally battery scraps are not processed in an environment friendly manner. In many parts of the world scrap batteries are exported after dumping the acid into the soil which is extremely hazardous, polluting the air, water and soil," said Hasique Pandikadavath, Director of Dubatt.

He said that globally unorganized battery processors break open ULABS, take the lead plates and grids manually, smelt them in rudimentary ovens and make lead ingots.

“We aim to enhance the efficient repurposing of batteries by sourcing it from the market, collaborating with major battery traders, scrap traders, car dealerships, garages, and government authorities. We also solicit the support of all relevant stakeholders, the media and the public in contributing to this Green Clean Initiative,” added  Pandikadavath.

Future Plan – `Made in UAE’ batteries

“We are planning to double our recycling capacity within a year from our commercial production and our plant is constructed with this provision to expand. Our future plan is to set up a lead acid battery production plant in the next two years as part of our vertical integration and expansion. We intend to produce a `Made in UAE’ brand of batteries soon,” said Binmohideen.

The Group is also looking at a technology partnership with FAAM Italy, a division of SERI Group Italy, for manufacturing new advanced lithium-ion batteries to power electric vehicles and other applications. Dubatt’s technology partner is SERI SRL who are the pioneers in battery recycling and lithium-ion battery manufacturing.