Lead acid battery design gets technology upgrade

07/06/2006


Firefly Energy says it has developed an innovative graphite foam lead-acid battery poised to cause disruptive changes in the $30-billion global lead-acid battery market.

The lead acid cell, a technology born in the 1850s, is reliable, safe, inexpensive, and can also handle large surges in current, which makes it attractive to automobile manufacturers. However, the lead acid cell realizes little of its theoretical power density and has a relatively short battery life. “While somewhat newer battery technologies like lithium ion and nickel-metal hydride offer alternatives to traditional lead acid cells, they have their own set of issues, including higher costs,” says Frost & Sullivan research analyst Sivam Sabesan. While some advanced batteries’ features improve upon the traditional lead acid cell, but cannot match all features. Engineers at Firefly Energy believe they can improve the lead acid cell to match lithium ion and the nickel metal hydrides, Sabesan says.

Firefly Energy, a spin-out of Caterpillar, removes heavy weight, extensive corrosion, and sulfating positive and negative lead metal grids by substituting them with carbon-graphite foam, increasing the surface area, to enhance battery chemistry. The result rivals the advanced chemistries in performance, takes advantage of an existing manufacturing base, and addresses environmental concerns by using half to two-thirds less lead. Frost & Sullivan gave the company a Technology Innovation Award.

--Edited by Mark T. Hoske , Control Engineering editor in chief





No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Controller programming; Safety networks; Enclosure design; Power quality; Safety integrity levels; Increasing process efficiency
Additive manufacturing benefits; HMI and sensor tips; System integrator advice; Innovations from the industry
Robotic safety, collaboration, standards; DCS migration tips; IT/OT convergence; 2017 Control Engineering Salary and Career Survey
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This article collection contains several articles on how automation and controls are helping human-machine interface (HMI) hardware and software advance.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me