Startup AraBat uses citrus waste and recycles batteries to create precious metals

AraBat is a startup from Foggia (Italy), born from the commitment of the social enterprise Arabis and NemicoRe, an association of young graduates from Puglia.

Here, the principles of the circular economy are applied.
Indeed, by using citrus processing waste and spent batteries, compounds of precious metals such as lithium, cobalt, manganese, nickel, etc. are produced.

This is an innovative project that aims to recover a special waste from which key materials for sustainable and electric mobility can be extracted. 
There are very few plants on the continent that recover lithium from spent batteries, so this really is a virtuous example in terms of circularity and sustainability.

Raffaele Nacchiero, managing engineer and CEO of AraBat, explains how the whole process takes place in which spent battery dust is treated to extract the precious metals present:

"The battery recycling process takes place through citrus waste. Once the spent batteries have been pulverised, the green leaching treatment takes place through a mix of citrus waste such as orange peel and citric acid".

What is being done in this corner of Apulia is also an important solution for the disposal of hazardous waste.

In fact, as Nacchiero points out, the number of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) “is growing three times more than the world’s population. 
And now there is also the problem of the high disposal and recycling costs, which according to one estimate range from 4 euros per kilo for disposal to 55 euros per KWh/hour for recycling. These numbers are unsustainable for the current supply chains”.

Moreover, according to some European estimates, at least 30 million zero-emission electric vehicles will be on EU roads by 2030. 
To cope with the growing demand for lithium, cobalt, nickel and manganese, which are crucial to the battery industry, it will be necessary to learn how to recover increasing quantities of these from end-of-life batteries.

The small Apulian company Arabat is therefore also trying to offer a concrete response to the crisis in these raw materials.

Written by
Francesco Tirinato – Junior Project Manager (Jump Team)

Sources and photos by

Share this article