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Gopher Resource Awarded Energy Innovation Grant from U.S. Department of Energy

Funding will help advance recycling innovation, U.S. energy agenda

Gopher Resource, a national environmental solutions provider based in Eagan, MN, 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 the $2 million in federal funding on projects meant to advance the national energy innovation agenda.

Gopher Resource partnered with Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, TN, with assistance from Gas Technology Institute of Des Plaines, IL, to secure the grant. Leading the effort at Gopher Resource were employees Dr. Joseph Grogan, who is 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. (Lead batteries have a 99.3% recycling rate, making them the most recycled consumer product in the U.S. and a model for creating a sustainable circular economy.)

“This is a tremendous partnership and an exciting first for the lead battery industry to further enhance furnace efficiency and reduce energy use,” Anderson explained. “Together, we’ll use cutting-edge multiphysics modeling tools to push the current boundaries of productivity for secondary lead furnaces.”

According to the USGS 2019 Lead Mineral Commodity Summary, in 2018, secondary lead production in the U.S. provided for more than 70% 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.

Gopher Resource President and CEO, Brian Leen, remarked on the company’s commitment to innovation in becoming the best environmental solutions provider in the lead recycling space.

“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. The important work by our R&D team, led by Dr. Joe Grogan, is a critical component in the country’s energy future.” He added, “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.

About Gopher Resource

Gopher Resource is a leading national environmental solutions provider whose core business is the safe recycling of lead batteries, followed by select household waste recycling. Through innovative facilities in Eagan, MN, and Tampa, FL, the company is a model of sustainable circular economic success. Gopher Resource helps prevent over 26 million spent automotive, industrial and stationary batteries from going into landfills each year and ensures their reuse into valuable, new consumer products. Founded in 1946, Gopher Resource is owned by Energy Capital Partners, a private equity firm focused on investing in North America’s energy infrastructure. For more information visit Gopher Resource.