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Lead batteries to play a significant role in the future of smart power in the UK

Posted By BCI Headquarters, Monday, March 7, 2016

For further information contact: Bob Tolliday, ILA Communications Manager, tel: +44 (0) 20 7833 8090

(LONDON, 04 March, 2016) The International Lead Association (ILA) has welcomed calls for a smart energy revolution in the UK and highlighted the importance that lead batteries must play to achieve the goals of cost savings and reduced carbon emissions.

The report Smart Power, published by the National Infrastructure Commission today, says that a flexible smart power system could result in the UK saving up to £8.1 billion a year by 2030 and highlights the need to store more energy from intermittent renewable sources such as wind and solar.

ILA’s Managing Director Dr Andy Bush, said: “If the UK is to become a world leader in electricity storage systems, as this report recommends, then lead batteries will need to play a significant role in that strategy.

“While other battery technologies tend to grab more of the headlines, lead batteries have consistently delivered in energy storage applications.”

Lead batteries offer a unique and much sought-after combination of affordable, reliable, safe and sustainable energy storage and are the most widely used electrochemical system globally - from utilities, microgrids and renewable energy to individual home storage, as well as in automotive applications.

Recent exciting innovations are now putting this tried and tested technology at the forefront of attempts to revolutionise the way we store and use energy.

With a long life cycle and reliable supply chain, lead battery technology is one of the most cost effective energy storage solutions for industrial applications and home storage, boasting the lowest cost of energy and power output per kilowatt-hour (about £100/kWh).[1]

As well as their cost advantages, lead batteries have a proven safety record and are the recycling success story of our time with collection and recycling rates of 99% in Europe and the U.S.  This makes them the most recycled consumer product with an infrastructure for collecting, transporting and recycling that no other technology can match.

Lead batteries are also used in virtually all vehicles produced globally and are needed to start the engine and supply the complete electrical system. Furthermore, advanced-lead batteries are used in all micro and mild-hybrid vehicles utilising start-stop technology which achieve significant savings of CO2 emissions.  Lead batteries may also be used in the future for advanced hybrid applications increasing the potential for further CO2 savings.

About ILA

The International Lead Association is the trusted global trade association for the lead industry and its member companies are at the forefront of the mining, smelting, refining and recycling of lead. ILA represents the producers of about 3 million tonnes of lead. The association is working towards a vision of a sustainable global lead industry that is recognised for the positive contribution it makes to society. 

ILA takes a leadership role in promoting responsible care and educating society about the benefits of lead for today’s and future generations. Recent studies have shown that lead-based batteries achieve a recycling rate of 99% in the EU and USA.

With offices in the UK and USA, ILA provides a range of technical, scientific and communications support for member companies, downstream users and the wider lead industry. ILA also supports the development of lead-based batteries through the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium which manages the research, development and promotion of lead batteries for markets such as hybrid electric vehicles, start-stop automotive systems and grid-scale energy storage applications.

[1] The Tesla PowerWall costs $430/kWh for the 7 kWh version and $350/kWh for the 10 kWh version. In comparison, a lead battery would be significantly less expensive at $150/kWh whilst still providing the same benefit.


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