Innovative Advanced Lead Batteries

Innovative icon for lead batteries

Lead batteries have long been a reliable, proven energy storage solution for a vast number of applications. Now, exciting research partnerships are increasing the performance of this technology far beyond its previous metrics. Lead battery innovation is poised to provide the peak performance and power that will assist the global transition to an electric and low-carbon future.

Battery Innovation Research Harnesses Full Capabilities

Lead batteries are an indispensable part of our everyday lives and our green energy future. They provide the energy for our growing global economy, supporting renewable energy, greener transportation and our critical infrastructure.

The past 20 years have seen lead battery innovation and technology advance significantly. Today, in the U.S. there are more than 50 research projects between private sector companies, major universities and the U.S. government focused on innovating next-gen lead battery technology.

Their synergistic aim: To harness the full capability of lead batteries domestically and make the U.S. the global leader in energy storage.

The Consortium for Battery Innovation has developed a roadmap to identify investment and research projects whose results are expected make a significant difference in lead battery performance. The research priorities are focused in the automotive and energy storage market sectors. Studies range from improving dynamic charge acceptance to increasing high-temperature durability and more.

Whether powering sustainable transportation, providing the energy storage for crucial emergency backup power, or safeguarding data connectivity, lead batteries are a vital part of our energy future.

Battery innovation with the DOE and Argonne National Lab
Photo Credit: R. Fenner, Argonne National Laboratory

DOE Energy Storage Grand Challenge

What if the life cycle of a lead battery could increase by one-third? That’s one of many performance metrics the lead battery industry is pursing, with help from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) quest to ramp up manufacturing capability so that the U.S. demand for energy storage can be filled by domestic sources by 2030.

The initiative launched in early 2020 with millions of dollars earmarked to support development of battery technologies in America.

The specific focus is energy storage innovation for utility services to help the U.S. reach its aggressive goals.

To chart the way, the lead battery industry’s executive summary identifies clear performance targets and collaborative research areas for lead battery technology. Each will position the industry for exciting partnerships that maximize a lead battery’s full potential.

Battery Innovation with Argonne National Lab
Photo Credit: R. Fenner, Argonne National Laboratory

DOE Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) Lead Battery Science Research Program: 2018–2021

Lead batteries supply 50% of the world’s rechargeable battery energy needs and have been in use for more than 160 years. Yet, there remains significant untapped potential in lead battery technology, and thus, great opportunity.

This three-year research initiative is leveraging groundbreaking analytical techniques to develop a deeper, foundational understanding of lead battery operation.

Early results are already influencing the creation of next-generation, high-performance advanced lead battery technology.

The battery innovation project is comprised of more than a dozen U.S. lead battery companies and suppliers, also in collaboration with ANL.

Read this status Q&A with Lab Director Dr. Venkat Srinivasan

Credit: Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC)
Credit: Consortium for Battery Innovation (CBI)

Established, Scalable, Ready

Without question, this is an exciting time for lead battery technology. Performance improvements in lead batteries are transforming the transportation industry by reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. New lead battery advancements have extended the life of traditional batteries by 30 to 35% over the last 20 years. This enables low-cost, large-scale deployment of micro- and mild hybrids with significant fuel economy and reduced emissions.

Additionally, start-stop technology using lead batteries is eliminating nearly 6.7 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually in the U.S.

The industry’s established circular manufacturing model ensures a domestic supply chain that’s already meeting market level – not just niche – applications.

Enabling the Electric Vehicle Revolution

Lead batteries are powering next-generation electric vehicles (EVs) and supporting increasing vehicle electrical demands. You might be surprised to learn that lead batteries are used worldwide in virtually every hybrid and EV. EVs depend on lead batteries for critical safety and security functions.

  • Lead batteries provide auxiliary power for virtually all plug-in hybrid and full-electric vehicles.
  • The growth of EVs depends, in part, on accessible, reliable public charging stations. Lead batteries store, regulate and ensure power at EV charging stations – even during extreme weather and peak energy demand.

Storing Tomorrow’s Power Today

Lead battery storage is vital now and for our energy future.  Watch this short video to learn more.

Dr. John Uhrie, Doe Run

With improved cooperation among stakeholders, increased research funding, and by following the circular economy example of lead batteries, the U.S. can regain domestic supply chain security and advance a low-carbon and renewable energy future.

Dr. John Uhrie, Vice President of Exploration, Research and Technical Development, The Doe Run Company