Future outlook for lead and lead batteries

Lead Metallurgy is Fundamental to the Circular Economy

Markus Reuter, Bart Blanpain and Annelies Malfliet (Director-Helmholtz-Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology, Germany)

Metals are eminently recyclable, and by recycling and refining complex materials, the EU’s interconnected metals sector is responding to the increasing scarcity of certain metals. In this way, we are delivering and recovering the technology and base metals for the EU’s Circular Economy (CE). Moreover, metals are at the heart of the energy infrastructures that now run Circular Cities, and they will play an even greater part in the future. One of these metals is lead. With respect to this familiar metal, industry is fully aware that in order to keep on using it, the associated risks need to be well managed at all times. Importantly, lead is a key enabler in the CE, as it is capable of dissolving and carrying a multitude of technology elements. The recovery and recycling of several critical technology elements is based on refining them from lead through well-developed metallurgical processes in which the lead acts as a carrier metal. Limiting lead metallurgy would have a detrimental impact, not only on the lead industry itself, but on all the industries linked to it. It is therefore critical that we maintain and further develop the lead infrastructure and know-how in Europe. To put it simply, lead metallurgy is fundamental if the EU wants to retain its leading position in the global CE.

This is based on the recent policy brief developed by industry and academia within the EU ETN SOCRATES: B. Blanpain, M.A. Reuter, A. Malfliet: Lead Metallurgy is Fundamental to the Circular Economy: https://etn-socrates.eu/pb-metallurgy-circular-economy/


Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Markus A. Reuter
Director at Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (Sept 2015):


Industry: Chief Technologist Ausmelt Australia & Director Technology Management Outotec Australia and Finland 2006-2015. Mintek & Anglo American Corporation (South Africa).

Academic: Professor at TU Delft (Netherlands) 1996-2005. Honorary & adjunct professorships since 2005 @ TU BAF Freiberg (Germany); Aalto University (Finland); Central South University (China), Melbourne University (also full professor) & Curtin University Perth (Australia).

Education: Honorary Doctorates University of Liège (Belgium) & University of Stellenbosch (South Africa); D.Eng. & PhD Stellenbosch University (South Africa); Dr. habil. RWTH Aachen (Germany).
Publications and Patents: See: https://scholar.google.de/citations?user=5cLC8VEAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao over 38 patents in 4 patent families.

Recent awards: 2016 TMS EPD Distinguished Lecture Award & 2015-2016 SME Henry Krumb Lecturer.
Research and industrial interests: Process metallurgy, system engineering, process design, optimization and simulation, recycling and design for recycling; all in the context of sustainability and the circular economy paradigm.

Markus Reuter

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