Energy storage and support for advanced batteries research such as lead-acid has emerged as a rare issue to unite US legislators across the current political divide.
A Capitol Hill briefing organised by Battery Council International saw Republican and Democrat representatives stress the need for research into energy storage was a key “area of alignment” for both main parties.
Representatives Mark Takano (Democrat) and Chris Collins (Republican), who serve as co-chairs of the Advanced Energy Storage Caucus, were among those attending the briefing.
Takano said: “Energy storage is the future of renewable energy. Cheap grid-scale storage means that renewables can compete with fossil fuels on cost alone. This is not only better for our environment, but also makes our national grid more secure from natural disasters.”
Collins said storage means energy independence “and that’s what’s good for America”. He said the current downside of solar and wind power is that wind and sun aren’t always available, so “we have to store the energy in a way that’s real and sustainable, and the technology is not quite there … we need breakthroughs”.
Dr Tim Ellis, president of Dallas-based lead battery recycler RSR Technologies, was one of several experts who shared highlights on innovative lead battery research at the briefing. He said: “It’s a really exciting time for lead [batteries].”
Dr Ellis also serves as chair of the Consortium for Battery Innovation, formerly known as the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium.
Ellis cited ongoing research at the US Argonne National Laboratory to better understand the performance of lead batteries at the molecular level leading to better dynamic charging acceptance and improved cycle life.