A proprietary process recycles the nutrients in used batteries into an organic fertiliser that improves crop yields
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Spotted: In essence, the heart of the circular economy is converting used products into something else. But when it comes to batteries, this is incredibly difficult. Used alkaline batteries make up around 20 per cent of the hazardous household materials in landfills. When these batteries enter a landfill, the casing can be crushed or become degraded. This causes mercury and other toxins to leach into the environment. Now, cleantech startup Tracegrow Oy has developed a way to turn those used batteries into a new product – fertiliser.
Tracegrow’s process is based on separating out micronutrients from the batteries and using these in the production of fertiliser. For example, zinc, sulphur, and manganese extracted from batteries can be used directly as a micronutrient foliar fertiliser (a fertiliser applied directly to the leaves of a plant). They can also be used as components in other types of fertiliser.
Tracegrow’s fertilisers are approved for organic farming and are proven to reduce carbon emissions and enhance crop productivity compared to traditional methods. The company has recently seen new investment from Nordic Foodtech VC, a fund dedicated to investing in early-stage companies aiming to ‘radically renew’ the global food system. The recent investment brings Tracegrow’s total funding raised to €2.5 million.
As climate change threatens food crops the world over, the race is on to develop new fertilisers that can enhance crop productivity without harming the environment. Springwise has recently covered a number of innovations in this area, including a system that can produce sustainable biofertiliser on site and an indoor composting robot that turns food waste into fertiliser.
Written By: Lisa Magloff