Lead battery firms join new US research project to extend Pb battery performance

by John Shepherd
Representative Marcy Kaptur: 'Research partnership can help industry meet society’s demanding requirements in vital industries like transportation and electric power'. Photos: Carlos Oliva / Pexels and (inset) Consortium for Battery Innovation
Five of the leading lead battery manufacturers in the US today announced a new research project with the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and The University of Toledo (UToledo), aimed at extending the performance of lead batteries.

Crown Battery, Clarios, EnerSys, East Penn Manufacturing, and RSR Technologies are joining the two-year collaboration, which aims to improve battery cycling efficiency – leading to longer life batteries as new applications emerge in an increasingly-decarbonised market.

Argonne’s Material Science Division will lead the research team in collaboration with Dr Cora Lind-Kovacs, professor in the UToledo Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. 

The team will conduct an atomic level examination of organic materials – also known as ‘expanders’ – to extend the life of lead batteries by improving their cycling efficiency.

Chair of the US House of Representatives’ Appropriations Energy and Water Development Subcommittee, Representative Marcy Kaptur, who helped to bring the consortium partners together, said the partnership "can help industry meet society’s demanding requirements in vital industries like transportation and electric power”.

"UToledo’s chemistry department will bring their expertise to help meet the growing need for more efficient and sustainable rechargeable batteries to support a changing economy,” Kaptur said.

The industry partners are members of Battery Council International (BCI) – the North American trade association representing the lead-based battery manufacturing, supply, recycling and distribution companies – the Consortium for Battery Innovation and the Lead Battery Science Research Program.

BCI said the latest collaboration was unique, "because it is focused on improving the performance of advanced lead batteries, which are fully recyclable, and for which recycling capacity already exists in the US”.

Earlier this year, President Joe Biden signed an executive order stressing the importance of developing ‘home-grown technology’ in decarbonising the energy sector, following up on a pledge to invest in advances in battery tech.

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