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ALABC joins Argonne Lab for next-gen lead batteries study

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd
Cutting edge research for lead at Argonne National Lab. Photo: ALABC

Lead-acid battery technology is to undergo a “high-tech makeover” under a research agreement between members of the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC) and the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory.

Fourteen ALABC members have signed up for the science programme, which Argonne said would focus the lab’s “resources and expertise on improving the performance of lead batteries, to assist the industry in meeting market demands for existing applications and for new applications”.

The nine full members of the programme include Crown Battery Manufacturing Company, Doe Run Resources Corporation, East Penn Manufacturing Company, EnerSys, Exide Technologies, Johnson Controls, NorthStar Battery Company, RSR Technologies and the Trojan Battery Company. The five associate members are Superior Graphite, Microporous, Cabot Corporation, Borregard Lignotech and Advanced Battery Concepts.

The director of the Argonne Collaborative Center for Energy Storage Science (Access), Venkat Srinivasan, said: “This is a beautiful example of how synergy between industry and science can drive innovation.”

“These leading companies of the lead battery industry want to do pre-competitive R&D using some of the most advanced tools, techniques and capabilities at Argonne to help improve the longevity of lead batteries,” Srinivasan said.

“Every company faces this problem. Once you understand the complex chemical interactions inside these batteries, you can start to propose solutions to further extend their life.”

The research will be a collaborative effort between Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source and the laboratory’s Chemical Sciences and Engineering and Materials Science divisions. 

Tim Ellis, ALABC chairman and president of RSR Technologies said: “This new project, with Argonne’s scientists, will help make the leap to the next generation of advanced lead batteries, as well as supporting efforts to meet the growing demand for reliable, safe and effective rechargeable battery energy storage.”

Tim Fister, an Argonne materials scientist in the chemical sciences and engineering division, said: “We are particularly interested in the lead sulfate crystal growth and dissolution process, and in learning how to control the latter in a more effective manner.”

The ALABC is to be renamed the Consortium for Battery Innovation, last month’s European Lead Battery Conference in Vienna was told.

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