Lead For The Long Run
“When I began my battery industry journey in the late 1980s, the idea never crossed my mind that I would spend the next thirty-plus years participating in an industry that impacts so many aspects of our day-to-day lives. This was truly beyond my comprehension.
Over the last three decades, much has changed in the lead-acid battery. However, for an industry that’s been around for over 150 years, we are just now starting to truly understand the aspects of battery construction and chemistry potential that have become essential as our industry competes with other chemistries and market entrants to remain relevant.
In business, we are often encouraged to “think outside of the box”, but the secret of improved lead-acid battery performance and life expectancy is actually achieved by “thinking inside the box” since this is where all the action happens. This action, whether it’s magic, science, or otherwise, is critical to the ongoing development of battery technology. The primary building blocks to unlocking the lead-acid battery’s true potential are a combination of separators, refined or pure lead, and performance additives.
I’m very excited to be working with the Hammond Group team representing one of the world’s most recognized leaders in Performance Additives and Oxide production. At Hammond Group, we strive to support our customers by supplying high-performance additives and providing in-depth technical support with tools such as our Technical Assistance Programs (TAPs). These programs help our customers to better understand the features and benefits of the myriad additive components available. The utilization of performance additives is an effective strategy to achieve improved lead-acid battery performance in key areas such as longer cycle life and improved charge acceptance. In addition to improved battery characteristics, the use of performance additives may also allow customers to achieve an overall cost savings.
Shortly I’ll be headed to Bali to attend the 18th Asian Battery Conference & Exhibition where Hammond’s Vice President of Research & Development, Dr. Marvin Ho will present a paper discussing how the Hammond team recently developed an expander formulation with high-temperature stability. Dr. Ho leads Hammonds efforts to advance lead-acid battery electrochemistry through the development of innovative performance additives and lead oxides.
I often find myself thinking about the future trajectory of the lead-acid battery industry. Some may think that lithium is the future, however, as most of us know, this will not be an easy task considering the long-term sustainability risks, lack of recycling, and market acceptance that have yet to be addressed. What if it happens? Where do we put all of the lead that is in circulation today? Lead-acid batteries have a recycling rate of over 99% in North America alone! That’s a stainable model.
One final note regarding the future of lead-acid batteries. Automobile manufacturers are constantly demanding improved battery performance as electrical systems become increasingly complex with energy support requirements that were not necessary a mere five years ago. This is an exciting opportunity for our industry to push the envelope and develop new innovations that will allow the lead-acid battery to remain relevant for decades to come. The lead-acid battery is here for the long run.”
Director, Global Accounts - Performance Additives