Battery group advocates lead-acid to meet energy storage needs

Lithium-ion technology has received much of the press as the future battery technology in vehicles and other applications. But lead-acid is not dormant, either. With demand for energy storage to continue increasing, the industry group Consortium for Battery Innovation (CBI) has set research objectives to increase the cycle life of advanced lead batteries by up to five times.

The European Commission has predicted a 10x increase in demand for EU battery energy storage by 2050. The Consortium has published a technology roadmap setting research and innovation targets for the next three years in advanced lead battery electro-chemical science.

The Consortium calls for improving dynamic charge acceptance—the energy stored in a battery when a car brakes in micro and mild-hybrid cars, to reduce carbon emissions and save fuel. For start-stop and micro-hybrid vehicles, fuel consumption is cut 5% to 10% as a result of using advanced lead battery technology.

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The Consortium has commissioned independent market assessments which project worldwide demand for battery energy storage will jump to 400,000 megawatt hours in 2025, compared with 100,000 in 2015. While the group expects lithium batteries’ share of the market to grow through the increase in electric vehicles, demand for all battery technologies will continue to rise as countries pursue low carbon and electrification policies.

Dr. Alistair Davidson, Director of the Consortium for Battery Innovation, said in a statement, “We’re in the midst of a revolution in battery technologies as governments look to accelerate their move to low carbon energy sources. We need a range of high-performance batteries for different products and applications to meet this growing trend. “Our technology innovation plan looms at a short-term boost in battery performance. But we’re also focusing on the next big leap in advanced batteries over the next decade as new forms of lead battery technology come to market.”

Advanced lead batteries already support the transition to electric vehicles through micro and mild-hybrid cars. Virtually all electric vehicles use lead batteries for essential back-up and safety functions. CBI’s technology roadmap sets out how the industry’s innovation program is setting research goals to help batteries improve further.

A number of lead-acid research initiatives are underway. For instance, the Consortium has initiated a major new project with US members, Electric Applications Incorporated (EAI) and Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) through the Argonne Collaborative Center for Energy Storage Science (ACCESS). The collaborative research project will use the ANL facility’s ultra-bright, high-energy X-ray beams to investigate the complex interactions taking place inside lead batteries in-situ and in real time.

A significant portion of the Consortium’s members and partners operate in Europe, including key players in Europe’s lead battery value chain, from battery manufacturers Clarios, EnerSys, Exide, Hoppecke, Banner and Moll, to industry suppliers Hammond, Daramic and TBS Engineering. The Consortium also partners with prestigious research institutes and universities at the forefront of lead battery research including Fraunhofer ISC, ISEA RWTH Aachen, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and Technical University Berlin.