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Lead-acid battery companies join forces with Argonne to enhance battery performance

Exploring the unrealized potential of lead batteries is the goal of a new collaboration between the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and two leading lead recycling and lead battery manufacturing companies: RSR Technologies and East Penn Manufacturing.

The collaboration will enable RSR and East Penn to use Argonne‘s state-of-the-art analytic technologies to accelerate the research of lead batteries in order to enhance performance. Tests undertaken will investigate the fundamental transport processes in lead batteries using a variety of characterization techniques available at Argonne.

Scientists at Argonne who will work on the project have extensive experience in synchrotron X-ray techniques, in particular for characterizing materials under controlled electrochemical conditions.

We’ve known for years that the core limitation is the utilization of lead inside the batteries. Lead-based technology has significant unused performance potential that can be tapped by improving active material utilization inside the battery. The lead battery industry has not had enough access to the right analytic tools to thoroughly investigate this phenomenon. This new collaboration will enable us to use Argonne’s technical facilities, so that we hopefully will uncover what has been unknown for many years.

—Timothy Ellis, president of RSR Technologies

The companies have joined forces with the Argonne Center for Collaborative Energy Storage Science (ACCESS) in a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA). Work began this month and will run over two phases for 18 months. It will involve the fabrication of model electrodes and the utilization of high-energy X-ray techniques, high-resolution three-dimensional imaging and other technologies to unlock the mysteries of the materials science that underpins lead-based technology.

Argonne is well known for its lengthy history of research and development on lithium batteries, but has experience with a wide range of battery chemistries.

East Penn is a leading manufacturer of high quality lead-acid batteries and accessories for the automotive, commercial, marine, motive power, UPS and telecommunication markets. The company's quality and environmental systems for its entire 520-acre complex have been certified to ISO 9001:2008, ISO/TS 16949:2009, and ISO 14001:2004 requirements.

RSR Technologies is a research and development company engaged in the nonferrous smelting and refining industries. The company provides services to battery, mining and smelting companies and is focused on achieving the highest standards for health, safety and the environment.



In other news:

Oak Ridge National Labs will work with Cumberland Community College to look into the untapped potential of giving steroids to horses to pull buggies faster!

LMAO!!! Give it up guys, your days are drawing to a close. Bye Bye.

A Facebook User

I think there is a huge market for stationary applications for lead-acid batteries. Weight and size are not as important factors in stationary markets as they are in transportation markets.


There's a huge system built up around lead-acid batteries, a lot of inventory, and the recycling rate is one every other industry should envy.  We don't have enough batteries for everything we ought to be doing with them, so it makes great sense to keep using that material and those facilities to promote the electrification of transport.

If the cars suddenly switch to downsized engines with electric superchargers, TIGERS, electric power steering and A/C, does it matter if the 48 V battery is Li-ion or Pb-C?  Not to the driver.


"Exploring the unrealized potential of lead batteries..."

There is no potential to neither explore nor to exploit in a l(d)ead battery.

Thomas Lankester

Use of the double negative suggest there is potential to exploit newer Pb battery tech. EP's point seem valid on this score and it does not mean the ascent of Li batteries is threatened (there is room for both).

Henry Gibson

One of the potentials is lower prices another is no fires at very high charge and discharge rates. Foam negative plates give them longer life and lower weight. Atraverda may still be proposing the use of titanium conductor material for longer life and lighter weight high voltage bipolar batteries. Properly processed carbon foam positive plates will eventually give lighter weight and longer life. Now defunct EFFPOWER had very high power lead batteries that could have replaced the PRIUS ones at far lower cost with the same power if they had perfected their production efficiencies of the ceramic plate. Atraverda could do it??

Seven times the volume of lead is required for the water acid mix. Atraverda can eliminate almost all of the non-active lead for lighter weight and longer life.

Australia and others have built them with carbon and supercapacitors in the same package.

A single lead cell of foam negative AGM manufacture with electronics to be charged from USB and to charge USB devices would have longer life and be far more fire safe for carrying to charge phones and have longer life and the lead materials recycled easier.

Every large lithium cell for flashlights has to have protective circuits built into it for safety. Every laptop computer battery pack has contacts for testing and preventing damage for each cell. Optimized lead cells might be even lighter than present lithium cells and they will always be fire proof.

There are circuits called "joule thiefs" to get the most out of any alkaline battery and some others. They could be modified to charge your phone from a lead cell and to charge the cell from your phone charger.

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