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Global Battery Consortium To Unveil Raft of New Research

Program to fund projects to increase life and performance of lead batteries.

A global battery consortium is preparing a technical roadmap to extend the performance and lifetime of lead batteries.

The Consortium for Battery Innovation, which has more than 90 member companies worldwide, supports pre-competitive research into the core battery technology. The plan to unveil a raft of new research is in preparation for an anticipated surge in demand for energy storage over the next decade. Lead batteries currently account for 75% of worldwide rechargeable battery energy storage.

Since it was formed as the ALABC 25 years ago, the consortium has ushered in major breakthroughs, including start-stop batteries, the technology that allows car engines to stop and re-start, reducing CO2 emissions and boosting fuel economy.

The program, which will be unveiled later this year, will fund projects designed to increase the cycle life of advanced lead batteries and further improve their ability to operate in start-stop, micro-hybrid and other applications. Other areas highlighted for future study include use of elements such as carbon to extend both the lifetime and performance of batteries.

One of the consortium’s important studies is underway in the United States in partnership with the Argonne National Laboratory. The consortium is using the laboratory’s synchrotron X-ray to study the chemical changes occurring during charge-discharge reactions in real time, a study that has not been previously conducted with lead batteries.

The consortium’s technical roadmap will be published at the BCI Convention, New Orleans, U.S., from April 28 to May 1.

Dr. Alistair Davidson, director of the consortium, said: “I expect worldwide demand for energy storage to jump significantly in the next decade. In Europe alone, demand is set to jump by up to 10 times by 2050. So advanced lead batteries will be critical to meeting that requirement, which is over and above existing uses such as start-stop batteries and back-up for mobile networks and emergency power.

“There are many factors driving this demand, including decarbonization and electrification. Excitingly, lead batteries are now becoming more common as energy storage for renewables, such as solar and wind, with local grids and independent electricity systems coming on line. Cost, recycling, safety and reliability as well as performance are all important factors for these systems, which play to the strengths of lead batteries.

“Overall there is of course an ever-present need for better performance and longer lifetime, so our next set of research priorities will amount to a big leap in the technology’s capability to help meet this surge in demand.

“The push for greater electrification requires a mix of battery technologies capable of delivering at scale. We are working with government research teams and universities in the U.S. and Europe to develop the technology that will usher in the next generation of advanced lead batteries.”

The consortium includes an advisory panel made up of global battery experts who help define, assess and guide research.

TAGS: Renewables
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