Battery companies join research partners to improve lead battery cycling


A group of U.S.-based lead battery companies has teamed up with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Toledo (UToledo) to improve battery cycling efficiency, in the hopes of achieving longer life batteries.

The researchers will work to identify methods to extend the life of lead batteries. Their work will focus on conducting an atomic-level examination of organic materials that could improve cycling efficiency and allow for more lifetime cycles, thereby extending overall battery life.

The research aims to improve the performance of advanced lead batteries, which are recyclable, and for which recycling capacity already exists in the U.S.

According to previous research on the subject, the key to extending lead battery life is to investigate the interaction among materials and the unwanted formation of crystals that can limit battery life span.

This is similar to the obstacle faced by Urban Electric Power, a battery startup which, through chemical tweaks to alkaline batteries, achieved a breakthrough in battery recharging. The breakthrough could help unlock the chemistry’s potential as an inexpensive long-term storage option.

The Argonne Lab-backed research group will not work with alkaline batteries, but will instead focus on lignosulfonates, which are naturally occurring organic materials used in the lead battery’s negative plates to maintain an optimum energy flow.

The battery companies joining Argonne and UToledo are Crown Battery, based in Fremont, Ohio; Clarios, based in Milwaukee; East Penn Manufacturing, based in Lyon Station, Pennsylvania; Ecobat, based in Dallas; and EnerSys, based in Reading, Pennsylvania. 

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