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Profiles of the recycling companies are presented below. 1.1 ACCUREC GmbH

In 1995, ACCUREC GmbH decided to develop recycling technologies with the aim to recover raw materials from NiCd, NiMH and lithium batteries. Therefore a new process was designed of the highest level of technology: the VTR-process (Vacuum Thermal Recycling). The new developed recycling technology for Nickel-Cadmium batteries as well as the recycling technology for Nickel-Metal Hydride and Lithium-based batteries was supported by the German Environmental Foundation DBU.

The innovative technology is based on a "zero-emission-effect" where the vacuum-treatment guarantees a complete separation from the environment and avoid any air contamination by processed materials.

For the first extension step of 1,000 t/y recycling capacity, a 2.5 million DM investment program has been made for research, development and industrialisation. Due to the new battery ordinance in Germany where it is mandatory to collect all types of batteries, the permit for the plant processing capacity was expanded up to 2,500 tons a year.

In 1998 ALD AG (Aichilin/Leybold/Durferrit) became the major shareholder of ACCUREC. ALD Vacuum Technologies is the world leader in the field of design and manufacture of vacuum systems for metallurgical processes and vacuum heat treatment. The ALD group of companies operates with 300 engineers and a revenue of 180 million DM for 1999. Looking for new activities, ALD now develops in cooperation with ACCUREC a zero emission treatment concept for recycling applications.

The following types of materials can be treated in ACCUREC GmbH recycling plant:

> NiCd industrial vented cells with or without electrolyte.

> NiCd portable sealed cells, individual cells or powerpacks.

> Production waste from the production of batteries.

> NiMH sealed-cells, individual cells or powerpacks.

> Lithium batteries sealed cells, individual cells or powerpacks (pilot-plant).

A schematic presentation of ACCUREC GmbH processes is supplied in Figures 4 and 5, for the treatment of industrial and portable NiCd batteries, respectively.

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