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Lead battery association calls on DOE to recognise the technology and support the US industry

Wed, 09/02/2020 - 10:19 -- paul Crompton

Trade association Battery Council International (BCI) is lobbying the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to recognise the benefits of lead batteries and invest in the technology to the same degree it does lithium-ion.

BCI has sent comments to the DOE reiterating that lead-based batteries can meet the three objectives of its Energy Storage Grand Challenge (ESGC) roadmap: innovate here; make here; and deploy everywhere.

Last week, BEST reported how 13 organisations in the US were to receive a total of $15 million as part of the challenge— no lead-based projects were included.

DOE announced the program in January with the goal to create and sustain US global leadership in energy storage utilisation and exports, with a secure domestic manufacturing chain that does not depend on foreign sources of critical materials.

Goals the lead battery industry already fulfils, says BCI, while being on the ‘threshold of another generation of discovery with the potential to achieve far greater performance from the materials inside the battery and new architectures’ such as bi-polar and silicon wafer grids.

In a statement, the BCI said: “The lead battery industry is a domestic industry, which means that the raw materials used to manufacture lead batteries in the US and North America are recycled and produced domestically, including the lead, plastic and electrolyte. 

“There is no need to import minerals or other materials from unreliable markets to ensure a steady, dependable and affordable source of energy storage.”

BCI believes on-going research into advanced lead battery technologies presents opportunities for the lead battery industry to deliver the energy storage needs of the future. 

BCI also refutes claims in the ESGC roadmap that lead batteries have ‘hit a ceiling’ with energy density and state-of-charge, saying the technology has reached 60-70Wh/kg and has the potential to reach 170Wh/kg in the future. 

In the coming months, DOE will be releasing opportunities for industry to seek federal grants to pursue additional research into advanced battery technologies. 

BCI expects to continue engaging with DOE and other stakeholders to ensure that lead batteries are among the technologies chosen to receive federal attention.

The comments from BCI also reflect comments from the Consortium for Battery Innovation (CBI), and the Lead Battery Science Research Program (LBSRP)— a consortium of North American lead battery manufacturers and suppliers engaged in a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Argonne National Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy. 

Read the full BCI comments HERE.

Image: The bipolar lead battery developed by Advanced Battery Concepts will undergo automotive testing regimes

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