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Firefly Energy Selects Second Manufacturing Partner

11 May 2007

Firefly Energy Inc., developer of an innovative carbon-graphite foam lead acid battery for commercial and military applications (earlier post), announced its second major battery manufacturing partnership in less than two weeks. (Earlier post.)

Crown Battery Company will provide prototype and production support of Firefly  battery technology to serve the commercial deep cycle markets. Specific terms were not disclosed.

Firefly’s carbon-graphite lead acid battery technology uses a three dimensional high surface area foam material that enhances  the high power potential of lead acid chemistry that was impossible in the past.  The porous, conductive nature of the foam electrode enables faster, deeper and more reliable discharges and recharges. Battery life is extended since sulfation is reduced, the carbon-graphite foam makes the battery more environmentally friendly, and the battery is less expensive than lithium and nickel battery chemistries.

Examples of end-use commercial deep cycle applications may include lawn and garden care equipment, electric material handling systems, floor care equipment, renewable energy systems, and marine equipment.

The carbon-graphite foam replacing much of the lead content also enables the battery to perform at cooler temperatures—a key feature considering that the corrosion rate of lead doubles for every 15 degrees the temperature rises above 70-degrees Fahrenheit.

Crown Battery Manufacturing Company is a lead-acid battery manufacturer with more than 75 years of experience.

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This all sounds good and these batteries might be a good lower-cost gap filler for BEVs until LiI batteries are available in quantity. Many of the current lead battery manufacturers can easily ram up their lines to produce this device. Does anyone know the specs and prices of these batteries?

Q: Did you ever wonder why large NiMH batteries never caught on? Ans: because the oil companies control the patents! Lets hope this doesn't continue to happen.

Does anybody know an approximate date when Firefly batteries will be available in consumer products such as lawnmowers? I have tried contacting Firefly and Electrolux and have received no response.

Apparently, they have answers for both of the key life-limiting factors on lead-acid batteries: sulfation and corrosion. If the electrodes are covered with non-corroding graphite (or, presumably, conductive plastic if that doesn't cover it), you won't be life-limited by corrosion. That's your (main?) calendar limit. Sulfation is also the primary problem that has people plugging their electric vehicles in to charge as soon as they can, weakening the argument that they will only be using power way off peak at night. It is very credible that Firefly can turn a cheap battery into one that can last at least twice as long. And if they can do that, they will have created the gasoline-killer battery, cheap enough to drop electric vehicle operating costs clearly below that of petroleum vehicles, at car scale.

Hopefully they will introduce them soon in an AGM format, which would be better for electric cars. The longer life justifies the AGM construction better.

If the sulphation problem is improved but not eliminated, there are electronic desulphating devices which I suspect may still be applicable.

They also give the impression that they will achieve dramatically lower weight, which will expand the application range way beyond forklifts.

If they can do this, don't expect Big Oil to take it lying down. Don't expect to know what they did, either. What we need for a healthy society is laws to ensure they keep their hands off.

Nice phrase “gasoline-killer battery”. Firefly is not alone anymore on the lead-carbon technology. AxionPower is now building a factory that will do 3000 of these batteries a day. See http://www.axionpower2.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=62&Itemid=33. Time will show whether this is real or just hype. It is comforting though to know that more than one company is claming to be on target to revolutionize the performance of the old lead acid battery.

Require batteries for electric car, your suggestions please.
Have you a supplier in New Zealand
Some weight and cost figures please

The AxionPower web site shows that their battery technology results in 1/2 the energy density (J/kg or W-hr/kg) versus traditional lead-acid ~1/4 of NiMH, and <1/5 Li-Ion. (think of energy density as how far you can go) (Click on Technology->Performance&Economics from their home page.) They don't discuss power density (think how hard you can accelerate). Firefly is claiming a much higher energy and power density - we'll see if they can deliver

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