The Future of Battery Recycling for Sustainable Data Centers

  • Monday, 04/03/2017: 3:45 PM - 4:45 PM
  • Room: 502A
  • Session Number:  DCDM9:


According to the latest Department of Energy statistics, U.S. data centers consumed 70 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2014 – two percent of the country's total energy consumption. Robust battery backup is key to ensuring reliable power supply for data centers. But what happens to data center batteries when they need to be replaced? Currently, almost all data center batteries are sent to smelters to be recycled – highly polluting plants where lead is melted down in furnaces and then reformed into reusable ingots. Smelting is one of the top five most polluting processes in the world and often introduces lead into the air, water and soil. Such extreme pollution is not only a liability for the smelters and data centers, but the process is also extremely expensive. Steve Cotton, chief commercial officer at Aqua Metals and data center professional for many years, can discuss the future of environmentally friendly battery recycling technology with the Data Center World Enterprise audience. Aqua Metals is commercializing a breakthrough battery recycling technology that allows lead-acid batteries to be recycled without creating dangerous pollution. In July 2016, Aqua Metals launched the world's first sustainable battery recycling plant, which breaks down batteries using an award-winning, sustainable room-temperature process, and yields lead that is purer than lead from a mine. Most importantly, Aqua Metals does not charge data center operators for their recycling services – instead, Aqua Metals and its partners seek to buy used batteries from data centers, making sustainability an asset to the bottom line. Cotton will also discuss competing battery chemistries and outline the reasons why today's lithium-ion batteries are destined for the landfill – making lead-acid batteries the most profitable, sustainable form of energy storage available to data centers today.

Learning Objectives

Sustainability management, waste stream management, public relations


Steve Cotton

Aqua Metals