Member snapshot – Darren Nelson from Enirgi Power Storage

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At Bomen, as you leave Wagga Wagga along Byrnes Road, you’ll find Enirgi Power Storage 

It might surprise you to learn that every day, 350 days a year, more than 13,000 lead acid batteries are recycled there, producing approximately 40,000 tonnes of lead for battery manufactures to use in the production of new batteries.

Currently employing 70, the plant is set to undergo a $50 million expansion within the next year, expanding its workforce to 110 people over time.

“This plant was first commissioned in 2010 with a licenced capacity to process 42,000 tonnes of used lead acid batteries,” said Darren Nelson, Enirgi Managing Director (Manufacturing).

“Through efficiency gains, we applied and received approval last year from the city council to increase this to 70,000 tonnes per year.

“The next stage of the expansion is to install additional processing equipment, which will result in the total processing capacity increasing to 120,000 tonnes per annum.  Due to the size of the expansion the approval will come from the state government.”

Darren said one of the drivers for expansion was a consolidation of the company’s current recycling activities and also a desire to shore-up Australia’s lead acid battery recycling capacity for the next 30 years.

“We have two recycling plants so we will close our plant in Sydney and then relocate that operation here and really develop Wagga as Enirgi’s centre of recycling.

“We currently process approximately 80,000 tonnes now between the two factories (in Wagga and Sydney) and we’re asking for 120,000 tonnes, with the idea that that’s the capacity for Australia for the next 30 years.

“We’re looking to get approval once, and build the facility so it’s ready and we don’t have any recycling shortfalls in capacity in Australia.”

For Darren the most exciting part of the expansion is value-adding right from here in Wagga.

“Manufacturing in Australia has been quite depressed over the last two decades, with most resources being mined and exported.  But what we’re doing is value-adding right here in regional NSW using brand new technology and world’s best practice in terms of recycling efficiencies and pollution control.

“We want to make sure we get everything at this one site. Our belief is that we’re the best people to manage this resource in Australia so we want to make sure we capture that and bring those used lead acid batteries here.”

Enirgi Power Storage will make its expansion application to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment in late 2017.