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lead batteries

BCI and CBI release report to guide the US’ lead battery development

Thu, 07/15/2021 - 15:12 -- Paul Crompton

Two lead battery organisations have prepared a joint roadmap that identifies 13 key areas for the advancement of the next generation lead batteries.

Trade association Battery Council International (BCI) and research organisation Consortium for Battery Innovation’s (CBI) report positions lead batteries at the heart of the US’ decarbonisation goals.

The ‘Lead Battery Grand Challenge’ roadmap was authored in response to the calls from the US Department of Energy (DOE) for greater levels of advanced energy storage, including batteries.

The roadmap highlights the opportunities for the US lead battery industry, in particular how to secure future opportunities for research and funding as well as targets for increasing the performance of lead batteries. Read the full report here 

Those targets include: increasing cycle life by 1,000 (at 80% and 100% depth of discharge), round trip efficiency (82% to 88%), acquisition costs (from $135/kWh to $35) and operating costs ($0.09/kWh/cycle down to $0.025).

The industry’s goal is to innovate and improve lead battery performance for key markets, such as residential and commercial demand reduction and load response for solar generation.

Lead battery energy storage solutions have intrinsic safety measures, are highly sustainable, manufactured domestically and meet the technoeconomic needs of the US utility sector for decarbonisation and distribution of the US grid. 

Roger Miksad, executive vice president of BCI, said: “This roadmap identifies key research areas which offer opportunities for the next generation of advanced lead batteries to deliver significant performance gains and to play an even greater role in the diverse energy mix that will power the nation’s grid. 

“It’s a call to arms for lead battery manufacturers, DOE, and the national laboratories to partner on collaborative research that takes science from the laboratory to the marketplace.”

Dr. Matt Raiford, senior technical manager, CBI, an author of the roadmap said: “DOE’s renewed focus on energy storage R&D represents a unique opportunity for demonstrable gains in the U.S. battery industry. 

“A high-performing and sustainable energy storage solution is key, and this is possible through a collaboration between the US lead battery industry and the scientific excellence of the DOE.” 

The roadmap’s thirteen research work areas identified to aid DOE in meeting the challenge include: 

  1. Lead industry support 
  2. Lead Battery Science Research Program 
  3. Additive modelling 
  4. Bipolar innovation 
  5. Manufacturing 
  6. Technoeconomic analysis 
  7. Pilot manufacturing 
  8. Supply Chain issues 
  9. Logistics 
  10. Balance of plant optimisation 
  11. Energy storage system demonstration 
  12. Operational Issues 
  13. Recycling 

Energy grand challenge

The report follows the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issue of its Energy Storage Grand Challenge (ESGC) program last December to accelerate the development, commercialisation, and use of next-generation energy storage technologies in the US.

Last September, BCI lobbied the U.S. DOE to recognise the benefits of lead batteries and invest in the technology to the same degree it does lithium-ion.

BCI sent comments reiterating that lead-based batteries could meet the three objectives of its ESGC roadmap: innovate here; make here; and deploy everywhere.

In February, president Biden issued an executive order to ensure resilient and diverse supply chains that put the spotlight on the need for the US to assert global leadership with home-grown technology to assist in the transition to an electric and low carbon future. 

The ESGC roadmap includes the goal of developing and domestically manufacturing energy storage technologies that can meet all US market demands by 2030.

Its six use cases identify energy storage applications, benefits, and functional requirements for 2030 and beyond.

The ESGC has identified cost and performance targets, which include:

  • $0.05/kWh levelised cost of storage for long-duration stationary applications, a 90% reduction from 2020 baseline costs by 2030. Achieving this levelised cost target would facilitate commercial viability for storage across a wide range of uses including: meeting load during periods of peak demand, grid preparation for fast charging of electric vehicles and applications to ensure reliability of critical services.
  • Other emerging applications for stationary storage include serving remote communities, increasing facility flexibility, increasing the resilience of interdependent networks, and facilitating the transformation of the power system.
  • $80/kWh manufactured cost for a battery pack by 2030 for a 300-mile range electric vehicle, a 44% reduction from the current cost of $143 per rated kWh. Achieving this cost target would lead to cost competitive electric vehicles and could benefit the production, performance, and safety of batteries for stationary applications. 

You can read the full ESGC report here

The U.S. lead battery industry has an annual economic impact of $26.3 billion across 38 states.

Lead batteries provide 60% of the global rechargeable energy storage market, and have significant potential for even better performance to serve increasingly demanding requirements for vehicle electrification and the integration of renewable power to the electric grid. 

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Grid-scale use of advanced lead batteries to be studied by UK organisations

Thu, 06/17/2021 - 12:45 -- Paul Crompton
Grid-scale use of advanced lead batteries to be studied by UK organisations

A study to boost the use of lead batteries in grid-scale applications will explore the technology’s performance and lifetime capabilities, especially when paired with renewables.

Scientists will combine research techniques, such as electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, to study and predict various utility duty cycles to show the advantages of lead batteries in grid energy storage applications.

The research will explore the development of advanced levels of modelling and prediction of lead battery behaviour in utility grid storage applications.

The model developed by researchers will be compared to data gathered from in-situ lead batteries to better understand the impact on battery lifetime.

The project will be led by UK institutes the University of Warwick, Loughborough University and is supported by the Consortium for Battery Innovation (CBI).

Europe’s energy storage transition has increased from 550MWh in 2016 to 5.26GWh by the end of last year, with front-of-the-meter deployments representing more than 50% of installed capacity.

Professor Richard McMahon from the University of Warwick said: “Lead batteries have key benefits of safety and recyclability but there is work to be done to understand how best to manage lead batteries in energy storage service to optimise efficiency and prolong life.

“This knowledge will show owners and operators of storage facilities that lead-based systems provide a safe and cost-effective solution.”

Professor Dani Strickland from Loughborough University, said: "The availability of low-cost powerful microprocessors is fuelling an explosion in our capability to monitor, understand and impact battery degradation in real world situations at low cost. 

“This project is exciting because it will use expertise in the partner organisations to transition lead batteries to the world of big data and smart energy storage.”

The research will be a critical part of the CBI’s drive to achieve the technical performance goals for lead batteries set out in its technical roadmap by generating insights into how to maximise battery life in real-world energy storage installations.

Image: Isolated multichannel battery and cell voltage measuring circuit for use in series strings.

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Research program aims to increase lead battery cycle life in ESS applications

Mon, 05/04/2020 - 11:45 -- Paul Crompton

A research project designed to balance electrical current across banks of advanced lead batteries supporting renewable energy systems has been launched by battery testing firm Electric Applications (EAI).

The 18-month study in Arizona, US, will investigate how balancing the electrical current across large strings of batteries can improve cycle life— a key area of research that will reduce the overall cost of using lead batteries in stationary applications. 

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Lead batteries have lost the ESS battle as competition from lithium-ion grows

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 15:29 -- Paul Crompton

Lead batteries no longer have a place in the energy storage system (ESS) market as lithium-ion becomes the number one choice of project developers, industry analysts Wood Mackenzie has said.

Outside of UPS applications, lead-acid has lost ground in the expanding ESS market place that topped 6GWh in 2018, say the analysts.

Xu Le, a senior analyst from Wood Mackenzie’s Singapore office, told BEST: “Lead-acid doesn’t really have a place in the ESS market in 2020, outside of UPS systems. It is not a competing technology anymore."

However, the Consortium for Battery Innovation (CBI) has refuted WoodMac’s suggestion.

The organisation’s director Dr Alistair Davidson told BEST: “Lead battery energy storage systems are excellent in the mid-range power area (1-5MW). These systems are typically used for energy storage systems for industrial and commercial applications for demand response services. 

"This market is set for the most growth. It is strategic penetration and in this application space, lead batteries have the best techno-economics relative to acquisition cost and payback period.”



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CBI takes inspiration from lithium-ion to study cycling reactions in lead batteries

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 15:18 -- Paul Crompton

The Consortium for Battery Innovation (CBI) is investigating ways to understand the charge/discharge reactions that occur in lead batteries with its members Exide Technologies and ICMA (the Aragon Materials Science Institute). 

The project uses neutron diffraction to study lead batteries, with researchers finishing analysis from an initial study before conducting further neutron work.

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Report backs up lead battery industry’s recyclability boast in the US

Fri, 11/22/2019 - 09:54 -- Paul Crompton

In recent weeks the US lead battery industry has taken some blows to its environment claims, but a new Battery Council International (BCI) report has ratified the widely held understanding that lead batteries– at 99% recyclability– are the most recycled consumer product in the country.

BCI’s biennial report on the recycling rate of lead batteries in the US to mark America Recycles Day on 15 November. 

Lead batteries are used in more than 275 million vehicles in the US and account for more than 70% of the world’s rechargeable power, according to the report produced by SmithBucklin of Chicago and commissioned by BCI.

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Glencore closes 50-year-old lead smelter in Canada for economic reasons

Fri, 11/15/2019 - 13:23 -- Paul Crompton

Glencore Canada Corporation will begin decommissioning its Brunswick lead smelter immediately and cease all operations at the Belledune, Canada, facility by the end of the year.

The facility, which opened in 1966, was closed for financial reasons with the company saying the smelter had lost on average $30 million per year for the past three years.

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Gridtential to produce 24V and 48V lead batteries using its silicon technology next year

Wed, 10/30/2019 - 15:19 -- Paul Crompton

Gridtential Energy plan to produce 24V and 48V versions of lead batteries using its patented Silicon Joule technology throughout next year, the company told BEST Battery Briefing.

The batteries, which replace the lead-grid and cell connecting lead-strap material with a treated silicon wafer, will be made in increasing volumes during the year to provide further ‘manufacturability valuation’.

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US customs seize a shipment of fake lead batteries in San Juan raid

Thu, 10/24/2019 - 12:50 -- Paul Crompton
US customs seize a shipment of fake lead batteries in San Juan raid

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers seized 1,072 counterfeit rechargeable deep-cycle lead batteries at the Port of San Juan, the organisation reported on 23 October.

The total estimated manufacturer suggested retail price of the seized batteries— which displayed “Reverse RU,” a protected trademark—  was around $208,068, said the CBP.  

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Lead battery industry a boon to the US economy and jobs market

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 15:32 -- Paul Crompton
Kevin Moran, executive vice president of BCI

Employee numbers in the US lead battery industry have risen 20% in two years as the market contributed $26 billion in total economic output to the national economy, a new study has found.

By the close of last year, the industry employed 25,000 direct jobs across 38 states according to figures from a study prepared by the EDR Group at the request of Essential Energy Everyday and Battery Council International (BCI). The study was last conducted in 2016. 

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