Firefly Energy, the developer of a new graphite-foam lead-acid battery technology (earlier post), is slated to received a $2.5-million appropriation from the 2006 defense spending bill to further develop its battery technology for military applications.
Firefly Energy will use the funds to develop prototypes of its advanced lead-acid battery to power a variety of military equipment. Firefly contends it can deliver lead-acid battery performance comparable to NiMH, but at about one-fifth the cost, and with greatly reduced weight compared to traditional lead-acid batteries.
The Firefly battery replaces the conventional lead plates in a lead-acid battery with a lightweight carbon or graphite foam to which the chemically active material—in the form of a paste or slurry—has been applied.
The use of the foam structure increases the interface between the electrodes and the active chemistry; the carbon material resists corrosion and sulfation build-up, reducing weight and delivering a formidable jump in specific power, energy and cycle life. The technology is not limited to use in lead-acid batteries.
The battery can be both manufactured as well as recycled within the existing lead acid battery industry’s vast infrastructure.