Battery Manufacturers Warn About Tossing Lithium-Ion Batteries In The Trash

According to an article in USA Today, lithium-ion battery manufacturers are pleading consumers to not throw used batteries in the trash or recycling bin. According to USA Today, 65-percent of waste facility fires were a direct result of lithium-ion batteries that were thrown away in the garbage.

Call2Recycle, a national recycling program funded by battery manufacturers, reported that there’s also a possibility of explosions in waste facilities when lithium-ion batteries from electronic devices are included in the garbage. As an example, USA Today reported that lithium-ion batteries were the cause of a five-alarm fire in a recycling facility in Queens, NY that burned for two days.  it was also reported that a recycling plant in Indianapolis was shut down after a fire from batteries, and a garbage truck in New York City exploded when workers compacted waste that ignited a lithium battery.

The problem in California alone has reached a point where the state is launching an awareness campaign to get consumers to keep these batteries out of the garbage and out of lead-acid battery recycling centers too. In an effort to curb improper disposal of used lithium batteries, some areas are encouraging consumers to put the batteries in a plastic bag and set them on top of the trash cans for pickup. In addition, some retailers such as Home Depot, Lowes, and Best Buy, according to USA Today, have recycling centers for used lithium batteries.

Battery Maintenance Safety Tips

Performing maintenance on flooded lead-acid batteries is simple, but one should always think about safety first. According to a variety of occupational safety and hazard organizations, nearly 2,300 people in the U.S. are injured each year while working with or around lead acid batteries. To prevent accidents or injuries when working on or around batteries, it is important to implement these 10 safety procedures:

1) Always wear protective eyewear and gloves. The electrolyte in flooded lead-acid batteries contains sulfuric acid. The electrolyte can not only damage clothes, but it will burn skin if left untreated. If you come into contact with the battery’s electrolyte, wash and flush the area with water immediately.  If it comes into contact with your eyes, flush immediately with water for 15 minutes and promptly seek medical attention.

2) Eliminate sources of sparks or flames. Charging lead-acid batteries produce hydrogen and oxygen gases from the electrolyte. When performing maintenance on lead-acid batteries, a spark or flame can ignite these gases and could cause the battery to explode.

3) Keep metal tools and jewelry away from batteries. Non-insulated tools or jewelry can run the risk of arcing if accidental contact is made between a battery terminal and grounded frame or another terminal.  Also, gold or silver jewelry can become extremely hot if contact is made.  Always wear gloves and use insulated tools to remove terminals and battery hold-downs.

4) Use caution when removing a lead-acid battery. Lead acid batteries are heavy and many accidental injuries occur when lifting or moving batteries by hand. Use a battery carrier or make sure you have a good grip on the battery and have the strength to hold it safely.

5) Keep a neutralizing solution close by. A baking soda and water solution neutralizes the sulfuric acid in the battery’s electrolyte. Create a small solution in a jar or container and keep it close by. If some electrolyte is accidentally spilled, you can immediately use the solution to clean the area, then rinse with water.

6) Use the correct type of charger. Not all battery chargers are the same or work properly on a flooded lead-acid battery. Refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations on how to properly charge the battery and make sure your charger provides the best algorithm that maximizes battery life and power output. Battery charging should always be done in a well-ventilated area.

7) Maintain electrolyte at proper levels. Never use a garden hose to fill batteries. Use only distilled or deionized water in a watering pitcher, water caddy or an automated watering system to properly fill batteries. Never fill battery cells above the level indicator. If the electrolyte level is below the tops of the battery plates prior to charging, add just enough water to cover them. Once the battery has been fully recharged, bring the water level up to approximately ¼ inch from the bottom of the fill well indicator.  Never fill a low cell all the way to the fill well indicator before charging.

8) Store batteries in a cool, dry and ventilated area. If you store large quantities of batteries, be sure the area is clear of any heat sources, flames, and sparks. Clearly post “No Smoking” and “Flammable” signs in the area.

9) Make sure battery vent caps are fully seated in place. Loose or improperly seated vent caps can spill electrolyte and expose the gases inside the battery to conditions that could cause an explosion.

10) Dedicate an area for battery maintenance. Prevent accidents by dedicating an area for battery maintenance that has properly insulated tools, protective wear, a wash station, ventilation and plenty of workspace.

For more information, contact U.S. Battery Manufacturing, 1675 Sampson Ave., Corona, CA 92879. (800) 695-0945. Visit www.usbattery.com.

 

Your Batterty Powered Golf Car May Be Great For The Environment

The Flooded Lead-Acid Batteries In Your Golf Car Provide Renewable “Green” Energy

For several decades, golf cars have extended beyond the golf course and have been the main mode of daily transportation in resort and retirement communities to ease traffic congestion and reduce noise. With an increasing global interest focused on reducing emissions, utilizing renewable energy sources, and protecting the environment, various industries are taking a second look at the old battery-powered golf car.

The advantages of the electric golf car stem from those that use flooded lead-acid batteries. At first, this seems contrary to the purpose, but a closer look at what is happening with this segment of the battery industry reveals a much greener and sustainable method of power.

Cost Effectiveness

According to Fred Wehmeyer, U.S. Battery Vice President/Engineering, in most cases, flooded lead-acid batteries remain as the most cost-effective method for powering golf cars and small electric vehicles over the long-term. Some would argue that Lithium-ion batteries provide a better solution. Although Lithium battery packs may provide longer cycle life, comparing actual amp-hour capacity and battery pack energy (kilowatt-hours) often shows that the flooded lead-acid battery pack provides the most cost-effective solution at an overall purchase cost and operational cost per kilowatt-hours.

Renewable And Sustainable Advantages

One of the biggest benefits to utilizing golf cars with flooded lead-acid batteries is that the batteries are recycled at a rate of 97 to 99 percent, with the recycled lead going back into new golf car batteries in a closed-loop system. According to the Battery Council International, lead recyclers undergo some of the most restrictive emissions regulations. The process of recycling lead combined with tough emissions standards has produced new methods of recycling with reduced emissions that are far below EPA regulations. The BCI reports that contamination in the air has dropped by 99 percent since 1980. In addition, a recent study released by the BCI suggests that the U.S. lead battery industry enables more than 95,000 jobs for American workers and contributed more than $28 billion in total economic output to the national economy in 2016.*

It’s easy to see why many industries have continued to utilize flooded lead-acid batteries to power everything from fleets of golf cars, aerial lifts, cleaning machines and more. In addition to reducing annual operating costs, industries and individuals embracing battery power are also doing their part to help the economy and the environment.

For more information and maintenance tips on batteries for your electric vehicle, visit www.usbattery.com.

*Lead Battery Industry Provides Billions in Economic Benefit, Provides Gateway to Middle Class – Battery Council International February 1, 2018