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Firms partner to make reference 24V deep-cycle lead-acid batteries

Thu, 05/06/2021 - 10:38 -- Paul Crompton

Lead-acid battery firm East Penn Manufacturing has begun producing AGM reference batteries on a prototype line that uses silicon technolgy from fellow US firm Gridtential Energy.

The first product off the production line will be a single-block, 24V lead battery optimised for deep-cycle applications— such as personal mobility vehicles— using Gridential’s Silicon Joule battery technology. 

The aim of the licensing agreement is to bring Silicon Joule technology to market as fast as possible and give OEMs an opportunity to place orders with those manufacturers. 

Lead battery makers East Penn, Crown and Leoch have invested in Gridtential, so have an interest in getting this battery to their OEMs as fast as possible.  

Gridtential CEO John Barton told BEST: “It is up to the battery manufacturer partners on when they move from pilot to commercial.

“The design is ready, the reference battery already exists, and the commercial battery can be made with minimal upgrades to existing lead battery factory floors.

“Once a manufacturer makes that decision, commercial batteries should be in production within 6-12 months of the decision. So if one of the licensed manufacturers like East Penn (Crown and Leoch are also in that category) makes that decision this year, commercial production will follow in l2022.”

Barton added: “Gridtential can’t make predictions about the battery manufacturers’ planned capacity or output; we are a technology partner that will work hand in hand with the manufacturer but we are  not directly involved in production decisions.”

A 12V power version (power-sports SLI, automotive start-stop and EV auxiliary) of the battery is scheduled for Q2, with two 48V versions appearing in the second half of the year.

The 48V deep-cycle version will be for: golf carts, e-tuktuks, renewable energy storage, telecom, data center backup, micro-grid.

The 48V power version is designed for: mild-hybrid, EV auxiliary, ADAS, start-stop, infotainment and regenerative braking.

Also on 27 April Gridtential Energy, closed a $12 million round of financing led by 1955 Capital with participation from Silicon Valley Bank, August Capital cofounder David Marquardt, ReneSola CEO Yumin Liu and existing investors East Penn Manufacturing, Crown Battery and the Roda Group. 

The latest funding will support a new production line of advanced lead reference batteries, including the world’s first factory-ready single-block 24V deep-cycle lead battery, made possible by its Silicon Joule technology. 

Barton told BEST: “The funding gives Gridtential resources to further improve the technology, expand its reach with additional manufacturer partnerships, and seed the OEM market."

Gridtential has raised $28 million to date.

Gridtential’s Silicon Joule technology substitutes treated silicon wafers for conventional lead grids, and combines them using a patented ‘stack-and-seal’ architecture that provides uniform current distribution and efficient thermal management, minimizing failure modes like sulfation, corrosion and grid growth. 

Their flexible stacked architecture can accommodate a range of voltage configurations, including: 12V, 24V, 36V and even 48V in a monoblock form factor.

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