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Carbon additive research aims to push boundaries of lead batteries

Thu, 12/17/2020 - 11:12 -- Paul Crompton

An industry led project has been launched to understand how carbon additives could enhance the performance of hi-tech lead batteries commonly used in micro-hybrid and hybrid cars.

The Consortium for Battery Innovation (CBI) is collaborating with lead battery manufacturer and recycler East Penn Manufacturing, and materials suppliers Hammond, Cabot and Borregaard Lignotech on the project.

It is hoped the research will improve the overall performance of lead batteries and reduce carbon emissions in start-stop, micro and mild hybrid vehicles. 

For the first time, different ratios of the common additives used in the industry such as carbon, lignosulfonate and barium sulphate will be studied with the objective of optimising dynamic charge acceptance (DCA) and performance at partial state-of-charge (PSoC). 

Understanding how carbons interact with other additives, such as lignosulfonates, is an area of research that could provide new insights and propel innovation in the next generation of advanced lead batteries, say CBI.

For nearly a decade, carbon has been a well known and proven additive material used to improve performances in lead batteries. Adding carbon into an electrode, or as the main composition material for the negative electrode, provides a reliable and simple pathway for performance improvements in lead batteries for cycle life, lifetime and DCA.

DCA is crucial for maximising the performance of advanced lead batteries in the ever-increasing number of micro and mild-hybrid vehicles on the road. 

This project builds on CBI’s technical roadmap, which aims to: improve DCA from 0.5A/Ah to 2A/Ah; increase PSoC at 17.5% depth of discharge to 3,000; and improve cycle life for batteries in stationary applications to 6,000.