Will Jones, the battery entrepreneur who made a small fortune developing recombination catalysts for failing VRLA batteries in the ’90s has come up with what he believes is a solution to premature lead-acid battery failure in mico hybrids— likely to be the dominant automotive technology in the next 20 years.
Jones, writing to BEST magazine, claims the problem isn’t with the fundamental chemistry but its charging regime.
His company, Philadelphia Scientific, tested two top-of-the range European VRLA batteries (complete with the latest carbon additives and four-nines lead) on a micro-hybrid test based on the Japanese SBA SO 101 protocol but with added eight-hour rest periods.
Jones says he was shocked to see the impedance of the batteries rising linearly throughout the test, diminishing the battery performance as it aged. In an earlier test, similar batteries had died an early death at 30,000 micro cycles.
At about 19,000 microcycles, he introduced Philadelphia’s proposed solution: a periodic 100% automatic recharge of the experimental battery. The recharge frequency was intended to simulate, approximately, a monthly recharge in a real car.
The impedance on the charged battery dropped immediately by about one third. The impedance of the control continued to rise so it was now about twice that of the recharged battery; this after a single recharge!
Subsequent recharges did not lower the impedance of the test battery much more although they did keep the impedance from rising again.
Philadelphia scientific filed provisional US patent on the protocol but on reflection, the company have decided to offer it freely to any company that chooses to use it.
Jones’ full submission can be seen in the forthcoming Spring issue of BEST magazine. Make sure your have a paid subscription to read the details.