Skip to content

Recycling Services


Active carbon


Active carbons are used for the cleaning of exhaust fumes and wastewater and subsequently contain traces of mercury. Materials from industrial processes that contain mercury furthermore form a major disposal problem. Safe storage of this waste is only possible if the mercury is removed beforehand, e.g. through distillation. Afterwards, substance-based recycling or re-use is possible, instead of adding it to landfill.

Batrec has developed a process in which loaded active carbon can be detoxified in an environmentally-responsible manner. It can then be safely recycled. The task of Batrec Industrie AG for the recycling of loaded active carbon is unique, and is used by customers from the petrochemical, chemical industries, waste-water treatment plants, and waste management companies all over the world.

The Batrec process

Batrec works with a procedure, which removes both mercury as well as sulphur from polluted catalysts and active carbon and reactivates active carbon at the same time. This takes place in a high-temperature treatment with temperatures up to 800 degrees Celsius. The distilled contaminants are subsequently separated in an elaborate gas cleaning process and incinerated in an environmentally-friendly manner.

Catalyst & Active Carbon Reactivation Brochure The Batrec process

With this ultra-modern and safe plant for recycling catalysts and active carbon, Batrec meets the requirements of a rapidly changing market. In this way, clients can improve their ecological footprint, close material cycles and reduce their use of raw materials.

Mercury Adsorbents


Spent Catalysts are filters consisting of a porous ceramic metal with a large interior surface, similar to active carbon. They are used in chemical and petrochemical processes for cleaning or refining gases. Used catalysts also contain 40% sulphur in addition to up to 15% mercury. Catalysts that are used to remove mercury from natural gas, can be added to metal recycling or reused after being treated first.

The Batrec process

Pre-treatment is necessary before loaded catalysts are recycled. The Batrec Recycling plant fills this gap in the materials life cycle. The mercury and sulphur contained in the catalysts are distilled off and separated in the subsequent gas cleaning process. The mercury is condensed and recovered as metallic quicksilver. The sulphur is converted into gypsum.

Catalyst & Active Carbon Reactivation Brochure Der Batrec-Prozess

The basic metals of the catalysts now free from mercury are recovered in smelters and in this way added to the materials life cycle. Through the refreshment of the catalysts, Batrec contributes to the cleaning of resources and the sustainable solution to disposal problems.



Old batteries and used accumulators are considered hazardous waste throughout Europe due to the toxic substances they hold; even lithium batteries are hazardous. In order to channel the emission current and direct old batteries to an environmentally-responsible further processing via controlled collection systems, European countries have been introducing relevant legislation since the mid 1990s.

The parameters used are more stringent in Switzerland compared with other European countries: In Switzerland, hazardous waste may not be dumped. To this end, dilution is prohibited – harmful substances may not get into the environment through residual waste. For these reasons, there is a ban on exporting used batteries and accumulators into countries where Swiss standards cannot be guaranteed.

The Batrec process*

The Batrec recycling process of batteries and storage batteries stands out from other well-known technologies in the processing of toxic materials, in particular poisonous mercury. At Batrec, the toxic mercury is fully distilled and regained as metallic quicksilver.

The closed two-stage thermal procedure can enable the recovery of value raw materials and make these available to industry. This cycle cleans the resources. If old batteries are recycled according to less stringent environmental requirements, toxic substances get into the natural environment through residual waste.

* developed by Sumitomo Heavy Industries

Batteries Brochure The Batrec process

Products containing Mercury


The poisonous liquid metal mercury is used in various fields: In doctors’ practices (blood pressure measuring equipment), in laboratories (analysis equipment), extraction gas cleaning (crematoria), in street and sports ground lighting (metal halide lighting) or in round cell batteries. In order to protect humans and the environment, mercury waste must be disposed of in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly manner. To this end, the strict, internationally applicable requirements must be adhered to.

The Batrec process

Batrec has developed a globally unparalleled procedure for retrieving mercury. The substance is isolated and distilled in several steps. At the end of the procedure, the liquid metal remains in a level of purity of over 99.9999%. The retrieved mercury can once again be added to the product cycle without polluting the environment.

Mercury Recycling info sheet The Batrec process

The procedure developed by Batrec for the distillation of mercury is the first of its kind. Since its development, many countries in Europe and the near East have delivered their discarded mercury-containing batteries to Switzerland for recycling. The procedure is also used for recycling spent catalysts and loaded active carbon.

Stabilisation of Mercury


In the era of clean technology and corporate responsibility, mercury presents a huge challenge to industries worldwide. Batrec has developed a solution to stabilise metallic mercury for safe and sustainable disposal. The Batrec solution provides a complete service for mercury disposal including treatment, transport, container handling, transfrontier shipment formalities as well as reporting.

The Batrec process

The patented Batrec process for mercury stabilisation is unique, setting new milestones in terms of safety, conversion rate and process efficiency. It employs a stabilisation reagent which is mixed with pure liquid mercury. Active sulphur within the stabilisation mixture reacts with the metallic mercury to HgS (cinnabar). HgS is the only non-toxic mercury compound. It is also the most stable and the most insoluble. In addition, the Batrec process is a wet process and thus not prone to gaseous mercury emissions, improving operational safety.

> 3 reactors
> 1200 t of mercury per year

Process performance:
> conversion rate of over 99.999 %

HgS quality:
> <10 µg/Nm3 mercury vapour pressure
> leachate EN 12457-2: <2 mg/kg Hg

From Mercury to Permanent Disposal