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Axion Power receives initial Norfolk Southern order for PbC batteries for hybrid switcher

Axion Power International Inc., the developer of advanced lead-carbon PbC batteries (earlier post) and energy storage systems, has received an order from Norfolk Southern Corp (NS) for PbC batteries for use in a hybrid switcher locomotive. Axion Power said this first $400,000 purchase order is part of a $475,000 total purchase order, that will be used in the commissioning of Norfolk Southern's NS-999.

The total purchase order will be shipped and deployed in the next 90 – 120 days. To date, this is the largest single PbC battery order that Axion has received. No further details were disclosed.

The PbC battery is a hybrid device that uses the standard lead acid battery positive electrode and a supercapacitor negative electrode that is made of activated carbon. The activated carbon has an extremely high surface area (1500 m2/g) and has been specifically formulated by Axion for use in electrochemical applications.

We have been working with Norfolk Southern for two and a half years, and we are very pleased that this first hybrid switcher yard locomotive, to be run completely on PbC batteries, will soon be in service. We have been moving on a parallel development path with respect to supplying batteries for the first NS over-the-road locomotive. This larger, more powerful, unit will require approximately twice the number of batteries as those to be shipped for the yard switcher locomotive. High-performance PbC batteries are ideally suited for hybrid locomotive applications due to their high charge acceptance, fast charge and discharge capabilities (important in regenerative braking), and their inherent ability to equalize voltage when utilized in large string configurations.

—Axion Power Chairman & CEO Thomas Granville

A yard switcher locomotive is used in a train yard to assemble and disassemble long trip over-the-road trains. Additionally it is used for the general movement of railroad cars around the rail yard.



This should be very effective in reducing particulate matter emmissions in the vacinity of railroad yards, which tend to be average income neighborhoods. Holy Cow! Something gets done to improve the lives of average people. What kind of strange alternative universe are we living in.

Does anyone understand what they're saying when they say that Pb acid is intrinsicly better for cell balancing? They state this; "and their inherent ability to equalize voltage when utilized in large string configurations"


I'm assuming they mean that over-charged or over-discharged cells move charge by some other reaction so a string always winds up with all cells in more or less the same state of charge at the end.


you can overcharge lead-acid, nimh and nicad cells slightly and all the cells will equalize in a series string.. you cant do this with lithium-ion batteries and thus need to use an electronic cell management system.

These new PbC batteries must be very low cost.

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