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Meet BCI's New Board Member: Thomas Bawart, CEO, Banner

Posted By BCI Headquarters, Thursday, September 27, 2018
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2018

Thomas Bawart began his career in the family business at Banner in 1986, where he trained in all relevant departments. He took over as CEO in 1996. He studied business and economics at the University of Vienna and earned a Master’s from the university in 1991.

How did you get involved in the lead battery industry?

Banner is a family-owned company, now in its third generation. It was rather obvious I would get involved, although I always had the option to do something else. But it was probably the grid casting process that initially peaked my interest in the business.

What is the biggest change/challenge you've seen in the industry?

The industry continuously changes! Not at a very fast speed, compared to other battery technologies, but if you look back, there is not only evolution, but quite a bit of revolution. When I first started in the industry in the late 80s, the standard product in Europe was a dry charged battery, many of them built by hand. Production was slow, and the used grid alloys were antimonial; you had to maintain the batteries and refill water.

Now, with different continuous plate-making technologies, it is a new world. Assembling has also become highly automated. The whole production process is clean and lean, and productivity has increased enormously. And best of all, the battery now is maintenance-free and nearly defect-free.

What do you value about BCI?

For many years I have attended the BCI’s Annual Convention + Power Mart Expo. I, and the few other Europeans in attendance, always thought the convention was more or less an excuse for going to Florida to play golf. And, of course, there was the supplier reception!

In the last few years, this has changed quite a bit. They now partner with Eurobat to advance industry lobbying efforts and exchange knowledge. I am now on the BCI Board to support these initiatives.

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David Boden Awarded the International Lead Award

Posted By BCI Headquarters, Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The International Lead Medal has been awarded to the late David Boden, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the lead battery industry following a lifetime of design and innovation, and for his inspirational work mentoring the next generation of lead battery leaders.

The medal is awarded annually at either the European Lead Battery Conference or the Asian Battery Conference to honor and recognize exceptional personal achievement in the lead and lead battery industries.

Since its inception in 2003, the medal has been presented to many individuals who have played a leading role in developing and guiding both industries, in the areas of science, technology or the environment.

Dr. Andy Bush of the International Lead Association said, “The awards committee decided to award the medal posthumously this year in recognition of David’s outstanding contribution to the lead battery industry throughout his lifetime."

Mark Stevenson of Global Lead Technologies added, "He was an inspiration to many in the industry and he has left an enduring legacy.”

During his lifetime Mr. Boden was associated with many leading battery businesses, and he was an active member of the industry’s research consortium, ALABC. He also chaired numerous technical committees for Battery Council International in the US.

Receiving the medal on behalf of David’s family, Eric Holtan of Hammond and John Timmons of Crown Batteries – both of whom worked with David over many years – highlighted his inspirational mentoring and support.

Mr. Timmons said, “Perhaps his greatest gift was in teaching and mentoring so many young people in the industry.” Mr. Holtan added, “He was exceptionally good at successfully communicating difficult technical concepts in very simple terms.”

The medal has become a prestigious award with nominations each year from all over the world based on exceptional service to the lead industry as related to the production, processing or use of the metal, in promoting increased use or awareness of lead, improving lead’s image or encouraging individuals to excel.

The award should honor/recognize above-average personal achievement.

In a message read out to the 16th ELBC conference in Vienna, Mr. Boden’s wife Pattie thanked the ILA and awards committee on behalf of the family saying they were extremely touched that David was chosen to receive the medal.

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The TBS Engineering Group Launches Its Positively Charged Thought Leadership Campaign

Posted By BCI Headquarters, Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The TBS Engineering Group has launched a global campaign to showcase the importance of the lead acid battery in our day-to-day lives and to raise awareness of its green credentials.

Today, a vast majority of the world’s energy storage needs are met by lead acid batteries.

The lead acid battery is a key component in an estimated 1.2 billion vehicles on the world’s roads; as well as essential back up power for the likes of hospitals and data centres.

Aircraft and military vehicles rely on lead acid batteries as does the telecommunication infrastructure that keeps us digitally connected. This is in addition to energy storage for solar farms and other forms of renewable energy that feed households and industry. All are essential to our lives every day.

But it’s a little known fact that the lead acid battery is one of the most recycled products on the planet – with a 99.3 percent recycling rate, millions of lead-acid batteries are diverted from landfill every year.

Chris Hanes, TBS Group Corporate Growth & Marketing Director said: “It’s an important message that we want to share. We want consumers to feel proud in the knowledge the batteries in their cars and that support our everyday lives have been recycled and reused by many generations.”

By 2035 there will be over 2 billion cars on the world’s roads – the majority of which will include a lead acid battery.

By virtue of its name, the lead acid battery has been much maligned in recent years, with the introduction of newer chemistries, such as lithium-ion.

But TBS says the lead acid battery remains the most cost effective and greenest form of rechargeable battery in existence: “These types of technology and the growing importance of electromobility are pushing our industry to be that much better. We’re rising to the challenge with the best possible solutions and development of the advanced lead acid battery.

“Even with the introduction of alternative battery technologies we still have no cost-effective alternatives for cars, golf carts and the many other applications. It’s a unique product. No other battery can be applied in quite the same way and meet the same requirements.”

By 2020, it is predicted that start-stop technology utilising lead batteries will help eliminate 2 million tons of vehicle greenhouse gas emissions annually in the U.S. alone. This is equivalent to the annual energy use of 211,000 average U.S. households.

In 2018 the global lead-acid battery market was valued at $48.56 billion – a figure predicted to rise at a rate of 7.14% by 2020.

Chris adds: “It’s a progressive industry that has been growing since it was established over 150 years ago.”

“Over the coming years we look forward to bringing many new technologies to market, while celebrating our industry’s rich history.”

Reflecting TBS’ confidence in the market, the energy storage expert has recently invested over £15m in a new state-of-the art global group headquarters in the UK, where it manufactures the machines that its customers produce many millions of batteries on every year.

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Doe Run Internships Give Real-World Experience to Future Industry Professionals

Posted By BCI Headquarters, Thursday, July 5, 2018

Mining and manufacturing are part of the many STEM-related (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) occupations projected to grow to more than 9 million jobs between 2012 and 2022, faster than most other occupations. The mining industry alone is estimated to grow by 50,000 jobs by 2019, with an additional 78,000 replacement workers needed as active workers retire, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Today, the U.S. lead battery industry directly employs more than 20,000 people across the country, and mining operations employ more than 186,000.

The Doe Run Company (Doe Run) mining and lead battery recycling operations are following this trend with increased hiring in 2017 and 2018. In addition, Doe Run is hosting a 13-student class of summer interns to help train skilled workers needed for the future of the industry

“Our industry has a solid future, with lead batteries providing an environmentally friendly and cost-effective solution for over 75 percent of the world’s rechargeable energy storage needs. And, as demand grows for both energy and emissions reductions, a variety of innovative and sustainable battery technologies are required,” said Mark Coomes, vice president – human resources and community relations. “We’re excited to be a part of training the next generation of miners, as well as material scientists and metallurgists, who will see future advances in lead batteries that today are just in the research stage."

Doe Run’s internship program provides professional work experience for students. This summer, Doe Run welcomed the following interns:

  • Hunter Strope is a student at Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) pursuing degrees in Geological Engineering and Engineering Management. He is joining Doe Run as a mining intern.
  • Gabriel Underwood will be joining Doe Run as a mining intern. He is a student at Missouri S&T pursuing a degree in Mining Engineering.
  • Trevor Constance is a student at Missouri S&T pursuing a degree in Metallurgical Engineering. He joins Doe Run as a metallurgical engineering intern.
  • Luke McCulloch joins Doe Run as a metallurgist intern. He is a student at Montana Tech where he studies Metallurgical & Materials Engineering.
  • Monica Mixon is a student at Tulane University majoring in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. She joins Doe Run as a chemical engineering intern.
  • Brent Aubuchon is joining Doe Run as an industrial engineering intern. Aubuchon is pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Missouri S&T.
  • Katherine Bartels will be an environmental science engineering intern for Doe Run. She is pursuing her master’s degree in Environmental Engineering at Missouri S&T.
  • Jackson Riley joins Doe Run as a metallurgist intern. Riley studies Metallurgical Engineering at Missouri S&T.
  • Kevin Voelz will be a mine research intern for Doe Run. He is pursuing a Master of Science degree at Northern Illinois University.
  • Frank Schott is joining Doe Run as a research and development intern. Schott studies Mining Engineering at Missouri S&T.
  • Jack Conner studies Environmental Plant Science at Missouri State University. He is joining Doe Run as an agriculture engineering intern.
  • Grant Koller will be an IT intern for Doe Run. He is studying Information Technology at Mineral Area College (MAC).
  • Derek Hymer will also be an IT intern for Doe Run. He studies Computer Science at Missouri S&T.

“We will continue to need bright young professionals to lead future innovations in our field, and enjoy helping these interns launch their career,” said Coomes. “It’s an economic success story that Doe Run can manage many stages of the lead lifecycle here in the U.S., where mining and recycling provides an abundant supply of the lead we need for batteries."

In addition to internships, Doe Run partners with local colleges, including Missouri S&T and MAC, to provide scholarships, field trips and equipment donations that help train the future workforce. In Spring 2018, Doe Run supported Missouri S&T’s Summer Explosives Camp with two full-ride scholarships for students.

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United We’ll Create More Power

Posted By BCI Headquarters, Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Advancing Lead Batteries Communications Initiative (ALBCI) used the industry’s annual gathering in Tucson to update BCI member companies on progress since members last met.

Members of the core team guiding the ALBCI explained that Essential Energy Everyday (EEE) is the external brand for the initiative. They also reminded conventioneers of the reason for the program: Newer battery chemistries and competitors are gaining market share, in part, by influencing the public’s perception of lead batteries. EEE is the first time the lead battery manufacturing and lead battery recycling industries have joined forces in a united effort to educate and promote their value to society.

As the initiative has gained traction, many BCI member companies have begun to integrate the EEE materials into their own communications programs which both builds awareness of the EEE and helps member companies to extend their communications budgets by using the informative materials. ALBCI recently released a “Member Toolkit” that provides step-by-step instructions on how to incorporate the materials (videos, infographics, social media) in individual company websites and social media, including the new EEE LinkedIn page.

The key to the success of the ALBCI are the stories member companies have to share. The industry is at a pivotal moment with increased innovation and opportunities in renewable energy storage. We continually need fresh content for our website and social media and are eager to hear about community initiatives, product advancements and case studies. These examples bring the industry to life and help to engage our key audiences of policymakers.

During the second and third quarters of 2018, our communications materials will focus on how BCI member companies are meeting the growing need to store energy generated by renewable sources such as wind and solar. We’ll close the year with a focus on the role of lead batteries in transportation including start-stop technology.

If you have case studies or additional information on these topics, or any others that we’ve covered, please send them to us and we’ll work together to share them.

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Doe Run Donates Robotics Set to Green Forest R-2 School District

Posted By BCI Headquarters, Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Doe Run Company (Doe Run) donated $500 to Green Forest R-2 School District to purchase robotics equipment that enables hands-on learning with science, technology, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) concepts and promotes critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Pictured below, students (from left to right) Kassidy Atkinson, Genna Casey, Alicyn Warden, Skyla Manley, and Brayden Ferguson work together to assemble a robot in the 7th and 8th grade STEM class at Green Forest Elementary, under the direction of teacher Melissa McCarter. The robot set can be taken apart and reconstructed, enabling students to build different robots and program the robots to perform specific tasks.

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Gridtential Energy Receives 2018 Sally Breidegam Miksiewicz Innovation Award

Posted By BCI Headquarters, Thursday, April 26, 2018

April 30, 2018

TUCSON, AZ Gridtential Energy has been awarded the 2018 Sally Breidegam Miksiewicz Innovation Award. Battery Council International (BCI) annually presents this award to celebrate innovation in equipment, processes, services and products that advance the lead battery industry. The award was established to honor industry thought leader, Sally Breidegam Miksiewicz, former CEO of East Penn Manufacturing Co.

Gridtential’s breakthrough Silicon Joule® battery architecture combines the traditional benefits of lead batteries – low cost, recyclability and safety – with a novel bipolar battery architecture. As demand in high-power applications increases across industries, Gridtential’s technology delivers the high dynamic charge acceptance (DCA) required to meet these evolving performance needs.

“It’s an honor to be recognized as a leader in innovation,” said John Barton, CEO of Gridtential. “The advancements we have seen in the industry, as demonstrated by fellow Innovation Award entrants, proves that the industry is growing and building its future in the midst of new technologies and developments. I’m confident that the merits of this award will continue to encourage the industry to embody the spirit of innovation.”

To watch a video of each submission, including Gridtential’s, and to learn more about the Innovation Award, visit www.batterycouncil.org/InnovationAward.

Contact:

Claire Sereiko
Associate Director of Marketing
+1.312.673.4984
csereiko@batterycouncil.org

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ILA Lead Battery Energy Storage Seminar

Posted By BCI Headquarters, Monday, March 5, 2018

Date: April 17, 2018
Venue: Sheraton Hotel, Boston, MA

Advanced lead batteries are providing successful solutions in energy storage applications worldwide. To find out more, register to attend a free Advanced Lead Battery seminar ahead of the ESA annual conference on April 17 at the Sheraton Hotel in Boston from 1:00 p.m. ---        5:00 p.m.

As the huge global demand for energy storage continues its upward trajectory, companies want to choose the most efficient and effective batteries and systems for utility and renewable energy storage systems.

This seminar, with leading experts from the lead battery industry including East Penn, Trojan and NorthStar Battery, will set out the evidence in support of the performance, sustainability, reliability, safety and economic benefits of using advanced lead batteries. This will include specific case studies highlighting advanced lead battery use in applications such as Frequency Regulation, Time Shift/Storage, Microgrids and Tariff Management, both in the US and in other regions of the world.

Building on these case studies, the seminar offers delegates the chance to hear about and discuss the pros and cons of all battery energy storage options with leading industry experts, including Dr. Geoffrey May of ALABC.

The seminar takes place on the afternoon before the ESA’s 2018 conference from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Hotel, 39 Dalton St., Boston, MA 02199, USA.

This event is free to attend, and includes lunch before and drinks after the workshop. A more detailed agenda will be circulated shortly. Space is limited. To secure a place you can book here now.

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East Penn's Facility in Oelwein, IA Celebrates Successful Start

Posted By BCI Headquarters, Monday, February 19, 2018

East Penn Manufacturing Co. is pleased to announce the opening of its Oelwein Fill, Form, and Finish and Distribution facility beginning early in January of 2018.

The company held a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on February 9th attended by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Lt. Governor Adam Gregg. The ceremony was an opportunity for the company to honor the hard work of the employees in Oelwein and all of the support from the State, City, Community, Contractors, and other valued partners.

“It has been a decade since we started our first distribution operations in Oelwein, and we are extremely pleased that we became a part of this community,” said Bob Flicker, COO of East Penn. “To see us progress through the construction to the operation of this remarkable new facility speaks to the amazing partnerships of all parties involved. We can’t thank our East Penn employees enough for their contributions that have gotten us to this point. This is a very proud moment for us all.”

East Penn Oelwein serves as a strategic location to enhance the product support of the company’s customers in the Midwestern United States and other key points across North America. East Penn also operates a manufacturing facility in Corydon, IA.


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Essential Energy Everyday and the Lead Battery Industry, Celebrate National Battery Day

Posted By BCI Headquarters, Thursday, February 15, 2018

February 15, 2018

CHICAGO ---      On National Battery Day ---      February 18, 2018, Essential Energy Everyday will celebrate the essential role that innovative lead batteries play in our energy future with the release of a new video, "Storing Tomorrow's Power Today."

Modern lead batteries are the product of millions of dollars of research and innovation by the lead battery industry, and today's state-of-the-art lead-based energy storage technology serves a diverse array of applications.

The video tells the story of both expected and unexpected uses of lead batteries. Beyond providing energy storage for over 270 million vehicles and 65 percent of forklifts in the U.S., lead batteries improve the reliability of renewable energy facilities and protect the $1 trillion U.S. communications infrastructure with uninterruptible power supply. This same technology is also utilized by first responders to rapidly deploy lighting and other mobile electronics during emergencies. In addition, the U.S. military relies on lead batteries to provide onboard power to ground support vehicles to keep our troops safe and powers vehicles used for bomb detection and disposal.

"Our industry is leading the green energy storage revolution," said Jeff Elder, president of Battery Council International (BCI). "Over the past 16 years we have invested more than $50 million to improve the lifetime, performance and reliability of lead batteries, transforming their ability to fulfill the needs of ever-changing and more demanding applications. Today, we provide over 75 percent of the world's energy storage capacity, and look to play a larger role in helping renewable energy storage facilities reliably deliver clean energy to more people.

"We're pleased to release this new video, 'Storing Tomorrow's Power Today,' in conjunction with National Battery Day to highlight some of the hidden ways lead batteries power our society today, and the innovative ways lead batteries will continue to provide essential energy storage in the years to come."

The sustainability, reliability and scalability of lead battery technology make it a key tool to achieve the goal of a green energy future. For example, lead battery innovations enable vehicles to improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions through start-stop technology which is expected to prevent two million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, or the equivalent of 211,000 U.S. households.

Offering solutions at almost one-third of the cost of comparable energy storage systems, lead battery technology is used in many solar and wind facilities to regulate the variability and increase reliability of on-demand power. They store excess energy when demand is low and release it when demand is high, ensuring a steady supply of energy to millions of homes.

Lead batteries power our everyday lives in ways seen and unseen. They also power the economy. In 2016, the U.S. lead battery industry enabled more than 95,000 jobs and contributed more than $28 billion in total economic output to the national economy. On National Battery Day and every day, there are many good reasons to celebrate this technology that is essential today and for years to come.

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