Envirostream Australia is trialling fertilisers blended with slow-release zinc and manganese micronutrients derived from spent alkaline batteries.
Lithium Australia has committed to creating a circular battery economy and to that end its subsidiary Envirostream Australia is currently assessing the use of zinc and manganese derived from recycled alkaline batteries as micronutrients in blended fertilisers
While fertilisers incorporating rapid-release micronutrients derived from alkaline batteries are available commercially in the northern hemisphere, the micronutrients Envirostream is producing are slow-release variants tailored specifically for broadacre farming in Western Australia.
The hope is that the use of such nutrients in slow-release form in the sandy soils, low in zinc and manganese, that characterise WA’s wheatbelt region will provide growers with significant benefits.
Environstream’s fertiliser/wheat-seeding trial is being held near Kojonup, located about 260 kilometres southeast of Perth.
The zinc and manganese micronutrients used in the blended fertilisers were recovered by Envirostream from single-use, disposable alkaline batteries in the form of mixed metal dust at its recycling facility in Victoria.
For the field trials, the metal dust was agglomerated with mono-ammonium phosphate fertiliser.
Harvesting at the trial site is planned for December 2020, with results to follow in the first quarter of 2021.
“Using recycled batteries to enhance fertilisers has the potential to divert toxic materials from landfill, provide the fertiliser industry with more sustainable inputs and improve crop yields,” said Lithium Australia MD Adrian Griffin.
“The slow-release nature of the micronutrients produced by Envirostream could prove a real advantage in terms of local crop conditions. We look forward to the outcome of the trials later this year.”