The first pre-production versions of Firefly Energy’s new BCI Group 31 carbon-foam lead-acid truck battery (earlier post)—to be marketed under the new name “Oasis”—will be available for review and testing during the first quarter of 2008. Initial availability of the Oasis battery will be in the summer of 2008, with full production scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2008.
Battery Council International (BCI) provides standardized definitions for the physical dimensions of a wide variety of batteries, and the Group 31 size battery is a broadly-deployed battery type in trucks.
The Oasis battery will primarily be utilized when the truck’s diesel engine is turned off, and provide up to 50% longer run-times than competitors when powering accessories which collectively make up a truck’s hotel loads.
Firefly Energy’s Oasis battery will have a sealed valve-regulated design. The primary characteristic of the first Firefly Energy lead-acid battery is the inclusion of a high surface area, non-corrodible and light-weight carbon foam material.
Firefly Energy’s 3D carbon foam taps more of the power potential of lead acid chemistry which was impossible to unleash in the past with conventional designs. This technology not only reduces the lead content making the batteries smaller and lighter, but additionally enables faster, deeper and more reliable discharges and recharges. This significantly extends the battery’s life, makes it more environmentally friendly, and less expensive than lithium and nickel battery chemistries.
The company said conventional deep-cycle lead acid batteries used in trucking start showing sizeable performance drop-off after some 200 deep discharge cycles.
The Oasis battery will offer continuous power through the discharge process, a fast recharge to 100% capacity, excellent vibration resistance and greater cold-starting capabilities. Typical battery life is extended since sulfation is reduced.
When tested in cold weather extremes at minus 20°C, the batteries were capable of delivering above 65% of their rated “room temperature” capacity compared to 20% or less for standard Group 31 batteries. This can help minimize alternator damage incurred while attempting cold-weather engine starts when batteries are low.
Additionally, batteries with carbon foam electrodes instead of heavy lead plates are able to transfer heat out of the battery as rapidly as it is generated. Operating heat of the battery is lower, is also generated more uniformly, and is dissipated more rapidly, resulting in longer battery life in many applications.
Firefly Energy is unveiling the newly branded battery at the SAE Commercial Vehicle Engineering Congress and Exhibition (ComVec), 30 Oct. - 1 Nov. 1 in Rosemont, IL.