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UltraBattery pioneer retires

Wed, 04/17/2013 - 18:36 -- Ruth Williams

Dr. Lan Lam, pioneer of the UltraBattery, is retiring from his 25-year career in the lead-acid battery industry. Dr Lam joined the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia in 1988. The Vietnamese engineer led the CSIRO energy storage research team that invented the UltraBattery.

“It sounds simple, but we created a new technology that is 70% cheaper than current batteries used in hybrid electric cars, and they can also be made in existing manufacturing facilities," said Dr. Lam of the UltraBattery. “It was always my dream to create a better battery – I knew the success of hybrid electric vehicles was dependent on it.”

The work by CSIRO, cited as a significant advancement in lead-acid batteries, combines a lead-acid battery with a carbon-enhanced supercapacitor. Once fully commercialised, the UltraBattery will enhance hybrid electric cars and grid-integrated electricity. The technology is licenced to Furukawa Battery Company and East Penn Manufacturing for storage and automotive applications.

Dr Lam’s contributions to lead-acid battery technology also include the novel plate-processing technology of Exide's PowerLift batteries; advanced leady-oxide for VRLA batteries; patented specifications for lead used in batteries; and for HEVs he discovered a mechanism to detect premature lead-acid battery failure as well the battery-life enhancing benefits of fast charging.