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Title: Hydrometallurgically generated nanostructured lead (II) oxide from depleted lead-acid batteries for potential reuse in next generation electrochemical systems
Author: Liu, Robert Chi Yung
ISNI:       0000 0004 6424 2738
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2017
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The recycling of lead-acid batteries (LABs) is currently an energy intensive, inefficient and polluting procedure. An alternative hydrometallurgical recycling process is investigated in this study. PbO, PbO2, and PbSO4 were individually reacted with a mixture of aqueous citric acid and sodium hydroxide solution, with hydrogen peroxide being used as a reducing agent for PbO2. Pure lead citrate of either Pb(C6H6O7)·H2O or Pb3(C6H5O7)2·3H2O was the product crystallized in each leaching experiment depending on the initial conditions. Combined spent electroactive paste materials from industry were leached and processed. 2.5 M H2O2, 3.2 M C6H8O7·H2O and 3.5 M NaOH were used for optimal leaching and were successful in synthesising Pb3(C6H5O7)2·3H2O after less than one hour. These amounts could be reduced by individual leaching of plate materials. The combustion-calcination of Pb3(C6H5O7)2·3H2O was successful in generating PbO containing both forms of the polymorph α and β crystal phases together with metallic Pb. A novel method to generate PbO from lead citrate was found through a self-sustaining combustion route where leached waste materials were preheated to 270 °C for ~15 minutes and were found to self-sustain a smouldering reaction to produce PbO with a predominately β phase containing metallic Pb. Electrochemical analysis of PbO from Pb3(C6H5O7)2·3H2O demonstrated the viability in the by-product to be used in an electroactive paste and therefore reused in new LABs. Pure α-PbO was generated from both forms of lead citrate, Pb(C6H6O7)·H2O and Pb3(C6H5O7)2·3H2O using NaOH. Pure β-PbO was also generated from Pb(C6H6O7)·H2O and Pb3(C6H5O7)2·3H2O using NaOH through dissolution/re-precipitation reactions. PbCO3 was successfully generated from Pb(C6H6O7)·H2O and Pb3(C6H5O7)2·3H2O using NaOH, NaHCO3 and an acid in a series of disassociation and re-precipitation reactions. PbCO3 could be used to thermally generate α and β-PbO as well as Pb3O4 by calcination at 350, 600 and 450 °C respectively. Glycerol was entrained in both PbCO3 and α-PbO as an in-situ reducing agent to generate PbO containing metallic Pb. Acid reactivity and absorption characteristics of PbO derived from Pb3(C6H5O7)2·3H2O heated in CO2 were equal to and greater than those used in industry for both automotive and industrial batteries.
Supervisor: Kumar, Vasant Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Recycing ; lead oxide ; lead-acid battery