Gopher Resource, a national environmental solutions provider based in Eagan, Minn., has been awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). As one of seven grant recipients, Gopher Resource will share $2 million in federal funding on projects meant to advance recycling innovation and the national energy innovation agenda.
Gopher Resource partnered with Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn., with assistance from Gas Technology Institute of Des Plaines, Ill., to secure the grant. Leading the effort at Gopher Resource were employees Dr. Joseph Grogan, vice president of research and development, and Dr. Alexandra Anderson, the project’s principle investigator. Anderson said the collaboration with Oak Ridge will be a major leap for lead battery recycling innovation.
“This is a tremendous partnership and an exciting first for the lead battery industry to further enhance furnace efficiency and reduce energy use,” said Anderson in a statement. “Together, we’ll use cutting-edge multiphysics modeling tools to push the current boundaries of productivity for secondary lead furnaces.”
According to the United States Geological Survey 2019 Lead Mineral Commodity Summary, in 2018, secondary lead production in the U.S. provided for more than 70 percent of the total lead demand and was estimated to have a total U.S. market value of $3 billion. Grogan said he’s optimistic that new discoveries will allow major lead battery recyclers, like Gopher Resource, to supply even more high-quality, low-cost lead to advanced lead battery manufacturers. In turn, the new lead batteries will help meet the nation’s rapidly growing demand for energy storage.
“The grant from the Department of Energy recognizes Gopher Resource as a leader in innovation and supports our ongoing quest to maximize the efficiency and productivity of lead battery recycling,” said Gopher Resource President and CEO Brian Leen in a statement. “The important work by our R&D [research and development] team, led by Dr. Joe Grogan, is a critical component in the country’s energy future. Advances in the safety, productivity and sustainability of the recycling process resulting from this work are important for our industry and our customers.”
The award is part of the High Performance Computing for Energy Innovation Initiative, a DOE-wide effort comprising EERE, the Office of Fossil Energy, the Office of Science and the National Laboratories system. The initiative helps to leverage the National Laboratories’ high-performance computing capabilities to address opportunities and advancements in manufacturing and materials through state-of-the-art modeling, simulation and data analysis.