Johnson Controls obtains battery center air permit

Johnson Controls, Inc.’s air permit from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) for the company’s proposed battery recycling facility in Florence, South Carolina has become effective.

This is the first air permit for a new, fully-integrated battery recycling facility issued in the United States in nearly 20 years. It follows a thorough and collaborative process involving local and national environmental groups including the Coastal Conservation League (CCL) and League of Women Voters of South Carolina (LWVSC), as well as area elected officials and members of the local community. The permit covers the control of emissions from the facility and outlines monitoring requirements to assure all state and federal standards are achieved.

In June 2009, Johnson Controls announced plans to build the recycling center to better serve customers’ needs in the growing mid-Atlantic region. It represents a capital investment of $150 million.

DHEC issued the air permit to Johnson Controls in February 2010, following a 60-day public comment period. The CCL and the LWVSC appealed the permit focusing their concerns on the modeling methodology and control of emissions. Johnson Controls, CCL, LWVSC, and DHEC collaboratively addressed all of the outstanding issues.

“We appreciate the cooperative efforts of Johnson Controls and DHEC,” Nancy Cave, North Coast office director for CCL said. “The final agreement will further mitigate emissions providing additional safeguards to the community and the environment. The outcome is the result of a successful working relationship for the good of the community.”

A Citizens Advisory Group, chaired by Francis Marion University president Dr. Fred Carter, met monthly throughout the process. This committee provided valuable input and discussion among members of the community and representatives of Johnson Controls.

The proposed battery recycling facility will be located off US-76 on Paper Mill Road near other major corporate leaders such as Roche Carolina and Smurfit-Stone.

“This initial investment is part of our overall strategy to add recycling capacity in the United States,” said Mike Carr, vice president and general manager of Johnson Controls Lead business. “This will enable us to continue to responsibly recycle our customers’ spent batteries while reducing our reliance on outside suppliers.”

Start of production is scheduled for summer of 2012.