Lead acid battery recycler Aurelius Environmental has secured a £1.5 million debt funding package from the government’s Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) to upgrade equipment at its site near Tipton.
The funding was secured through Maven Capital Partners and will be used by Aurelius to purchase machinery to ‘improve efficiencies’ at the facility.
In partnership with Cambridge University, the Tipton-based company has developed a process aiming to recycle lead acid batteries using an “energy positive process” which is intended to have lower carbon emission than other battery recycling methods involving smelting.
This is done through a patented process called ‘Fenix’ whereby the lead acid batteries are processed to separate the acid, which is neutralised with lime, while plastic and lead plate are also separated. The process produces lead oxide directly from batteries, unlike other recycling systems which produce lead metal that is then oxidized separately to create lead oxide.
The company has previously had funding from the European Commission to develop the technique.
Aurelius Environmental is led by Miles Freeman, a former operations director of Ecobat Technologies and who has previous experience at Veolia.
Commenting on the funding, Mr Freeman said: “As an established business, we are committed to revolutionising the waste management and recycling industry and the funding will enable us to invest in advanced machinery which produces virtually zero waste, allowing us to provide a more sustainable and environmentally process to the market. We look forward to working with the MEIF team over the upcoming years.”
The ‘Midlands Engine Investment Fund’ is supported by the government’s Department for Business, as well as the European Regional Development Fund and provides focussed finance through small business loans and debt funding to companies in the Midlands region.
It was launched by cabinet minister Sajid Javid last year to “redress a regional imbalance in SME funding options”.
Sean Hutchinson, senior manager at the British Business Bank, which funds part of the scheme, added: “Providing finance for innovative Midlands businesses such as Aurelius is exactly what the Midlands Engine Investment Fund was set up to deliver.
“We look forward to seeing how Aurelius’ growth journey progresses and would encourage other businesses looking to grow to explore the funding options available to them through the MEIF.