British bipolar battery maker Atraverda is launching a new 24V lead-acid battery in the second quarter of 2014.
The new battery is an uprated version of its first 24V, 15Ah bipolar battery, hundreds of which have been trialled, mostly for electric wheelchairs and golf carts. Following feedback from its clients wanting a product with higher volumetric energy density, Atraverda is to launch a 24V, 18Ah battery by summer 2014.
Bipolar batteries replace standard lead-acid batteries’ multiple layers of grids, paste and separators with a single layer of conductive material. By removing 40% of lead, higher energy density is achieved at a claimed 20% lower manufacturing cost versus conventional lead-acid batteries.
Bipolar batteries also use the entire surface area between each cell to transfer current and cause less stress, improving lifetime and performance.
The lead-acid battery industry has been trying to crack the bipolar nut for the past 30 years. Effective bipolar batteries require material between cells that can effectively transmit electrons while being impervious to highly corrosive sulphuric acid to prevent cell leakage.
Atraverda employs its patented ceramic composite Ebonex, which consists of a suboxide of titanium dioxide, commonly used as a pigment in white paint. Ebonex is the base material in the ceramic substrate, which acts as both electrode and cell separator.
Tony Davies, chief executive officer, told BESTmag: “Over the past ten years, bipolar batteries have had a history of high failure rate due to leakage. We have developed to the level where we have extremely leak-proof batteries and conductive cathodes between the cells.”
Atraverda is targeting its bipolar battery at the US$3bn a year e-bike market in Asia. Davies said the Abertillery-based firm was on the verge of announcing a joint venture with a major Asian battery company to commence high-volume production of e-bike batteries.
Davies was not prepared at this stage to disclose the company’s name, but said it had one of “the biggest factories in the world”.
The long-term goal is to produce a 48V, 30Ah “core product” for telecoms, light electric vehicles and the energy storage market.
Atraverda is currently holding a funding round to scale up production capacity of its pilot line at its South Wales headquarters. The firm had previously spent many months trying to secure funding to continue production but were let down by a Dutch investor late in 2012.
The company withdrew before the deal was finalised and the board of directors were forced to file for administration in December 2012. After failing to secure working capital to continue production had to lay off 37 of 44 employees. Only a core staff in technical roles remains.