The Consortium for Battery Innovation (CBI) is collaborating with different battery manufacturers to find out how carbon additives can help enhance the performance output of the lead batteries usually used in micro-hybrid and hybrid passenger cars. Once developed, the technology may result in other improvements, like lowering the price to result in a high performance yet cheap car battery and making lead-acid batteries more environmentally friendly in general. In recent years, cheap car batteries in the UK have improved in terms of performance, but manufacturers haven’t gained a lot of ground in terms of longevity and quality. This research aims to improve the overall performance of lead-acid batteries, even reducing their carbon emissions.
The initiative began in 2019 and its overarching aim is to improve the performance of lead-acid batteries fivefold by 2025. Specifically, it aims to uplift the dynamic charge acceptance of car batteries from 0.5A/Ah to 2A/Ah. The CBI also wants to raise the partial state-of-charge of batteries from 1,500 to 3,000 over the same time period. Battery lifecycle improvement is also part of the plan.
CBI Director Dr Alistair Davidson said that, as the government moves to accelerate progress towards low carbon energy sources, car battery manufacturers should have a range of high-performance batteries available for different vehicles to meet the growing demand.
The effects of different ratios of common additives like carbon, lignosulfonate, and barium sulphate will be studied. The objective is to optimise the dynamic charge acceptance (DCA) and the performance at partial state-of-charge (PSoC) of the batteries with these additives.
DCA is important in maximising the performance of an advanced cheap car battery whenever it is used daily, as well as in any type of weather.
Understanding the effect of these additives on each other can provide new insight for the industry and can propel innovation towards the next generation of advanced lead batteries.
Carbon has been used for the last ten years or so and is a proven additive that helps to improve the performance of lead car batteries. When carbon is added to an electrode or used as the main composition material for the negative electrode, it provides a strong and simple path which directly affects the performance as well as its lifecycle life, longevity, and DCA.
CBI Vice-President Industry and Governmental Relations EMEA, Dr Christian Rosenkranz, said that many countries around the world are seeking to reduce their carbon emissions, which means they’re increasingly seeking a range of battery technology and innovations which can deliver high-quality storage of energy; and on a scale that has never been done before.
The CBI has entered into partnerships with various research institutes and universities who focus on lead battery research. Among these are Fraunhofer ISC, ISEA RWTH Aachen, Technical University Berlin, and the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
In 2019, the Association of European Automotive and Industrial Battery Manufacturers launched a campaign to promote the use of advanced lead batteries to support the EU’s decarbonisation and electrification objectives.
The CBI is aiming to be one of the frontrunners when it comes to improving lead battery technology and finding the innovations that can spearhead a revolution in the use of lead batteries.
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Lead battery technology will continue to grow with initiatives such as these. The time will come when even the most expensive batteries will drop in price and become more affordable and available to the general public.
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