More About Batteries

Batteries provide portable, convenient source of energy for powering devices without wires or cables. Batteries enable us to have a steady supply of electrical energy whenever and wherever we need it.

How does it work?

Chemical elements have different electronegativity. Electronegativity is the ability of an atom to attract electrons. Atoms give up their electrons to other atoms that attract on them more. When two different metals are placed inside an electrolyte and connected through an outer circuit, both metals attract electrons towards them. However, the metal with stronger electronegativity will attract electrons from the other metal through the outer circuit. We get electricity when electrons flow through the outer circuit. The two metals used have to be of different electronegativity. If they are both made of the same type of metals, no electrons will flow.

What’s inside?

A dry cell is the most common type of battery used today. It converts stored chemical energy into electrical energy. A battery cell is made up of three components: anode (-), cathode (+) and the electrolyte.

The electrolyte provides the place for the two ends of battery or the electrodes to trade ions. Cations (positive ions) go towards the anode, dumping their extra electrons. Over time, this results in an electron build-up at the anode.

However, the electrons are all negatively charged. Hence, they repel each other and are attracted to the cathode. The movement of electrons from one end of the battery to another through the outer circuit is what creates electricity

Battery Recycling

Batteries contain metals such as zinc, lead, nickel, cadmium, lithium, and mercury. These materials are toxic and hazardous when exposed to the environment. Although batteries have outer casings, these toxic materials can leach into our environment when the batteries are not properly disposed of. With more than 3 million waste batteries generated annually in Iceland, the leaked materials can contaminate our soil and drinking water as well, causing a multitude of health problems.

Many valuable metals can actually be collected from waste batteries and recycled. At Hringrás, we collect and classify the batteries. The batteries are then exported to recycling plants in Belgium, Germany and England. The materials in the battery are further separated and valuable metals collected for recycling.