Blog | March 14, 2024

Embracing the Future with Confidence – The Best of BCI and the Battery Industry Is Yet To Come

By Roger Miksad, President and Executive Director of Battery Council International

The world is experiencing a battery-powered revolution, with rapid developments in transportation and energy storage that promise enormous environmental and economic gains.

That means the innovation and principles of product stewardship championed by Battery Council International and its members are more relevant than ever before. As we celebrate 100 years as a trade association, I am convinced that the best days of this industry are ahead of us.

Batteries Power the Modern Economy

Consider a recent independent economic analysis that estimates the U.S. battery industry powers roughly $8.1 trillion worth of domestic industrial economic output annually, or roughly 20% of the U.S. economy. All told, a staggering 48 million U.S. jobs are related to or reliant on the battery industry.

Sometimes small but always a necessity, batteries already power a huge share of the modern economy. And BCI’s member firms and their employees are massive engines of growth for their local communities.

BCI downstream economic impact by industry sector
U.S. battery industry downstream economic output by industry sector.

Advancing Technology Finds New Applications

Since the association’s founding in 1924, the ubiquitous – and too-often underappreciated – automotive batteries that have long formed the backbone of the battery industry have reliably powered nearly one billion cars and trucks in the U.S. alone. And advanced lead-based batteries are supporting the growth of reduced-mission and electric vehicles, and supporting 21st century industrial applications.

New and growing applications like grid-storage, EV fast charge support, vehicle auxiliary power, and other areas are opening markets and unprecedented opportunities. Batteries of all types including lead-based, lithium-ion, flow, sodium-ion, and emerging battery chemistries are supercharging this transition to renewable energy sources and a more sustainable global economy.

Continued Commitment to Safety and Sustainability

BCI is proud to be a part of this mission of sustainability and innovation. We have a century of experience and expertise, and will continue to advocate on behalf of all battery manufacturers and recyclers going forward.

After all, it was not by accident that our industry and lead battery technology have thrived over the last century. Rather, it was through a continued commitment to improve safety and efficiency, as well as purposeful policies and an industry commitment to circularity.

With BCI’s leadership, the U.S. industry built and currently operates an unparalleled collection and recycling system for lead batteries that is the envy of other products. For more than 30 years, lead batteries have been recycled at rates far outpacing any other consumer product. Lead battery recycling diverts hundreds of millions of pounds of lead and plastic from landfills annually and supplies the materials needed to manufacture new batteries. A truly circular economy.

BCI has also worked tirelessly to improve the safety and efficiency of battery manufacturing and recycling processes. Our industry was able to meet the energy needs of a changing economy and grow a domestic manufacturing base, all while improving its environmental footprint. That is a path that other emerging battery chemistries can achieve through the same hard work and dedication. It’s this commitment to improvement that has allowed lead battery technology to thrive – even as other energy fads have fallen away in an ever-changing global economy. BCI stands ready to share its experiences with all stakeholders to achieve those goals.

Expanding Circularity Success and Innovation

BCI is particularly interested in sharing lead battery recycling’s core strategies with stakeholders in other battery chemistries so they can learn from our success. These include practices such as consistent labeling standards, widespread free consumer collection opportunities, prohibitions on improper disposal, and industry-funded transportation and processing networks.

Energy storage is one of the most rapidly evolving industries in the 21st century. And in the coming years, the pace of change may only accelerate as new technologies and advances in existing technologies move out of research labs and into the mainstream economy.

The quest for constant improvement is a hallmark of our industry. Since 2016, our annual convention has featured the BCI Innovation Award that recognizes innovations within the industry on sustainability, safety, cost, performance, uniqueness and value. And I’m confident that with sound policies and industry initiative, we can replicate the circularity success of lead batteries across additional chemistries.  BCI is eager to support the future of energy storage with our rich experience, respect across the industry and with regulators, and a history of success.

Graphic with BCI convention images promoting to register now

BCI’s Centennial Celebration: Honoring the Past, Recognizing Achievements, and Embracing the Future

At the BCI 2024 Convention + Power Mart Expo on April 21-24 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, we will formally gather to discuss the dynamic state of our industry. But we’ll also mark the 100th anniversary of Battery Council International as the leading energy storage trade group. Registration is on pace to smash records, and it’s sure to be an anniversary event to remember as we recognize some of the great people who helped build our industry over the last century and celebrate our success.

But the BCI 2024 Convention isn’t just a victory lap. We’ll keep looking to the future, too – because the brightest days of this industry lie ahead.

It’s an exciting time for this industry as we look to the future. We hope to see you in Florida to mark our centennial anniversary and celebrate with us throughout 2024. And more importantly, we hope you’ll continue to place your trust in BCI in the decades to come.


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