MSE Seminar: “Exploring the Innovation Ecosystem: Advancing the Future of Secondary Lead Furnace Operation”


3:00 pm-4:00 pm
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Rhines Hall Room 125
549 Gale Lemerand Drive
Gainesville, FL 32611


Allie Anderson, Ph.D., PMP

R&D Manager
Gopher Resource, LLC

Dr. Alexandra Anderson is an R&D manager at Gopher Resource, LLC, an environmental solutions company specializing in lead battery recycling. Her work focuses on driven furnace productivity and efficiency initiatives through computational fluid dynamic (CFD) modeling and implementing novel equipment designs. Currently, she is also the principal investigator for a DOEHPC4 manufacturing partnership between Gopher Resource and Oak Ridge National Lab investigating high-fidelity multiphase furnace modeling. Alexandra obtained her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Gonzaga University and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. Her dissertation investigated fluid flow and thermal profiles within secondary lead reverberatory furnaces using CFD techniques. Alexandra is active in The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS), where she serves as the vice-chair of the Process Technology and ModelingCommittee; she was also the recipient of the 2021 TMS Extraction and Processing Division (EPD) YoungLeader Award. Her scholarly activities include nine peer-reviewed publications, co-editorships of seven special topics for JOM, as well as several podium presentations at national conferences. She lives in Tampa, Florida, where she loves to spend time at the beach and in the pottery studio.


Gopher Resource is a lead battery recycler committed to developing solutions to the challenges surrounding sustainable materials production. By adopting an Innovation Ecosystem approach—through multiple collaborations across the spectrum of government, academia, and industry—Gopher R&D is directing projects centered on waste minimization, GHG reduction, and process automation.

Several of the research initiatives within the Innovation Ecosystem have focused on the continuous operational improvement of Gopher Resource’s reverberatory furnace, a common pyrometallurgical unit operation used in secondary lead processing. The inner workings of reverberatory furnaces are complex in nature, often involving an interplay between heterogeneous smelting chemistries, multi-phase transport phenomena, and combustion reactions, making it difficult to understand causal relationships to improve overall furnace operation.

Broadly, advancements in lead reverberatory furnace operation can be achieved through (1) process intensification,(2) more efficient use of heat, and (3) reduction in carbon input.

This presentation will briefly cover three distinct yet overlapping research initiatives within Gopher Resource’s Innovation Ecosystem each focused on addressing one of the areas. The first research project, a collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, aims to develop high-fidelity Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) furnace models validated with pilot-scale experimental studies and in-plant trials; early models have informed operational burner alignments, resulting in increased production, and reduced refractory wear. The second project, executed through a partnership with the Gas Technology Institute, a non-profit research and development lab, is investigating a novel waste heat recovery method using a particle-based thermal transfer fluid. The final project, a joint effort with the University of Minnesota, focuses on evaluating biochar as a sustainable substitution for coke breeze as a furnace reducing agent.

Through these ongoing initiatives across the Innovation Ecosystem—via partnerships with government, academia, and industry—Gopher Resource has been able to discover valuable insights into the multifaceted workings of reverberatory furnaces, paving the way for a new and improved future for secondary lead processing.


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Department of Materials Science & Engineering