20.12.2017

Towards the world conquest

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Tracegrow is the only company in the world that has developed a technology to refine the trace elements from the used alkaline batteries into clean micronutrient products for farming.

Some ten billion alkaline batteries are discarded annually across the world.

The batteries contain valuable elements, particularly Zinc and Manganese, which can be reused to reduce their ecological impact and conserve natural resources.

Tracegrow Oy of Finland is the only company in the world to have succeeded in developing a technology by which Zinc and Manganese can be recovered from used alkaline batteries in a way that keeps the levels of impurities below even the strictest global fertiliser legislation. These elements, which are extremely important to both plants and humans, are refined into liquid micronutrients that can be used to fertilise farm fields.

Tracegrow is aiming high: its goal is to become the most acknowledged micronutrient company in the global circular economy. The company’s revenues are generated by end-product sales and production plant deliveries.

“We are targeting to reach an annual turnover of EUR 100 million from the global market over the next few years. We’re humbly proud of being able to export Finnish expertise to the world,” says CEO Tatu Leppänen.

The company’s first production facility in Kärsämäki, Central Finland, will be completed at the end of this year. It will achieve full production capacity during 2018.

“There is widespread global interest and a clear need and demand for this new product and technology.”

About half of all the farms in the world suffer from a lack of Zinc or Manganese. The global market for micronutrients is large and growing.

Tracegrow’s technology differs from its competitors’ products in that the trace elements are not excavated. Instead, they are chemically separated from alkaline battery waste. The idea is to minimise the environmental footprint.

Economically ecological

Tracegrow primarily targets three customer segments: fertiliser distributors, and manufacturers and companies specialising in recycling batteries.

For fertilizer distributors, Tracegrow offers the opportunity to differentiate from all the others in the industry.

“We offer them a premium-level micronutrient that is just as efficient, clean and safe as the best products on the market. At the same time, it is the world’s most ecological Zinc- and Manganese-based micronutrient.”

For recycling companies, Tracegrow offers a technology that makes it possible to turn costly battery waste into a profitable product.

“We sell production plants on a turnkey basis. Additionally we offer help and support every step of the way.”

While alkaline batteries have been recycled before, the trace elements they contain can now be recovered more efficiently and cleanly by using Tracegrow’s technology.

The chemical process has been developed in collaboration with Finnish universities and research institutes. Additionally, the company received support in its early days from the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation Tekes, Finpro, BSAG and the Natural Resources Institute Finland.

Success through teamwork

Entering the global market calls for a great effort, the right people and passion.

“Aside from the solid in-house expertise we’ve generated in the course of our operations, we have been able to obtain really a world-class talent to the board or directors and the advisory team.”

More local advisors are also going to be hired from the key target markets globally.

“We’re also looking for a co-owner who shares our values and is able to further increase our visibility and business specific knowledge”

Tracegrow’s principal shareholder is Huhtala Yhtiöt Oy, whose CEO Petri Huhtala serves as Tracegrow’s Chair of the Board of Directors.

“Five years from now Tracegrow will be one of the world’s leading circular economy companies. It will be successful and stay ahead of the competition in developing clean technologies. There is not a single corner in the world where this technology couldn’t be utilized” says Huhtala.


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