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This year’s stateside Advanced Automotive Battery Conference, held in Detroit, had old flavours back on the menu— fuel cells and lead-acid. The Editor was there to sample the technologies that had formerly been declared “Treif”*
Detroit’s a bit of a living legend… there’s still some auto industry there and remnants of the power of the big three US auto giants, but you’d hardly know it. The downtown area appears devoid of people; curiously there’s a mixture of both old and young black women who look like they’re auditioning for a Diana Ross look-alike competition and everywhere you go, a bit of mid-sixties Motown music seems to pump out of every doorway.
Batterymen can also do their own nostalgia thing: Stan Whittingham, the revered English chemist who is still active in lithium-ion field after more than 40 years, showed some nostalgia for the lithium-ion cells he demonstrated at auto shows back in the mid-sixties when electric cars seemed as likely as smart phones. Amazingly these 40 year-old batteries still work! But for once, we’re going to shut the door on all that— and the Four Tops (above).
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Deputy Editor Paul Crompton takes a wry look at where the winning batteries are going in cars of the future from thoughts gathered at IDTechEx’s recent meeting in Berlin.
For the average person, let’s call them ‘battery agnostics’, batteries are so intrinsically linked to modern life that until the SLI battery fails or the smartphone needs charging, their attitude towards batteries is at best blasé— they don’t care how the perfectly engineered electrochemical cell got there, just as long as it did.
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The marriage of battery storage and renewable energy moved from a mere flirtation to something more serious during a sun soaked ees and Intersolar meeting, as a hot and bothered deputy editor Paul Crompton found out.
This was not a conference for the faint hearted, or the unfit. Spread across numerous halls in a building the size of a small country, a heady mix of energy storage conference and solar exhibition came to the Messe Centre in Munich, Germany, for its 25th Anniversary celebration.
YOU COULD BE HERE
The International Lead Association is pleased to announce that the 15th European Lead Battery Conference (15ELBC) and Exhibition will be held at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta, Malta, 13-16 September 2016.
15ELBC will provide an ideal opportunity for those involved with the lead battery industry worldwide to review and discuss the most recent technical advances associated with lead-based batteries, especially for automotive and renewable energy storage applications.
Technical presentations will bring delegates fully up-to-date with the latest research and development information from around the globe. An extensive Exhibition— expected to involve over 100 stands— by suppliers to the industry of equipment, materials and technology, will also take place.
Since the first meeting in Paris in 1988, the European Lead Battery Conferences have developed a reputation for high quality presentations on the design, manufacture, performance and use of lead-acid batteries. Over 700 delegates and 100 exhibitors attended 14ELBC in Edinburgh 2014 and similar numbers are confidently expected in Malta.
Deployment of energy storage rose slightly in the US with lithium-ion projects by utilities continuing to dominate the market.
Lithium-ion smart energy cells manufacturer Oakridge Global Energy Solutions has established a joint venture with a Japanese firm to make battery management systems.
Sumitomo Chemical is to quadruple production of its lithium-ion secondary battery separators and become a majority stake-holder in a cathode firm.