Battery Day2021

RECOGNIZING THE IMPACT OF BATTERIES ON NATIONAL BATTERY DAY

Join U.S. Battery in celebrating February 18th, National Battery Day! NBD allows us to celebrate the impact batteries have in our daily lives and reminds consumers of the recycling efforts essential to allow batteries as a vital energy source.

Overall, the battery industry plays a vital role in everything from transportation, medical, aerospace and defense, communication, renewable energy, and other industries. One of the most common batteries in use is lead batteries, mainly because of their high efficiency, low cost, and the fact that they are also nearly 100 percent recyclable. U.S. Battery deep-cycle, lead battery products, for example, are used in everything from aerial lifts to off-grid housing, floor cleaning machines, and many other applications.

Economic Impact

According to the Battery Council International, the non-profit trade association for the lead battery industry, lead batteries are a proven technology with more than 160-years of unmatched resiliency and reliability. They also report that lead batteries provide more than 90-percent of the backup power required for 24/7 telecommunications and backup recovery systems that protect lives, investments, and data in an emergency. Within the transportation and motive power sectors, 12V lead batteries have a projected growth reaching more than six percent in the automotive market alone between 2015 and 2030, bringing the market value to $31.9B.

In the United States, lead batteries provide a $26.3-billion impact on the economy that involves suppliers, worker spending, transportation, and distribution. It provides an estimated $1.7-billion in annual payroll, supporting an industry that employs nearly 25,000 workers. Aside from studies that show lead-acid batteries are the safest and most reliable sources of energy, studies show they also represent some of the lowest cost-of-operation options available.

Good For The Environment

Another reason to celebrate batteries on NBD is that they are the most recycled consumer product, recognized by The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The recycling process breaks down the outer casings made of polypropylene, then washed, melted, and extruded into small pellets. Manufacturers use these pellets to produce new battery cases as well as other plastic products. The lead oxide and lead grids of the battery’s interior are melted in a smelting furnace to form lead ingots to make new battery components. The sulfuric acid in the battery’s electrolyte is neutralized and purified into water that meets EPA clean water standards before being recirculated. The recycling process converts the acid into sodium sulfate, a compound commonly used in laundry detergent, glass, and other textiles. The process creates a sustainable energy source that is the model of recycling in the United States.

A Sustainable Energy Source

The U.S. Department of Energy is also looking at the role lead batteries may have on the future of energy storage because of its recycling rate, strong domestic base, high safety record, and low-cost efficiency. The DOE issued a 2020 report on Grid Energy Storage Technology Cost and Performance Assessment that includes lead batteries as one of seven storage technologies receiving attention, along with lithium batteries.

While it’s great to acknowledge that batteries have provided consumers and industries with a viable energy source for more than 150 years,  NBD reminds us to be responsible consumers. As batteries become more of an important energy source, it’s reliant upon industries and consumers to familiarize themselves with the various chemistries, where your batteries come from, and how each type of battery can be properly disposed of and recycled.

One of the most important things you can do to observe NBD is to gather old or used batteries and properly recycle them. Disposing of batteries in landfills can cause chemical and fire hazards. Therefore, finding a local store, organization, or recycling facility is an essential part of the process. To do this, the Battery Council International recommends using www.call2recycle.org, a national non-profit organization, to help consumers identify the various battery types and to locate local recycling centers and disposal options.

The Battery Council International’s Statement On President-Elect Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Recovery Plan

President-elect Joe Biden announced his Build Back Better Recovery Plan which outlines historic investment in Research & Development in markets “where global leadership is up for grabs” including “battery technology … and clean energy.”

“The lead battery industry, with its strong domestic supply chain, is ideally positioned to rapidly deliver on the President-elect’s promise to have American jobs support the nation’s post-Covid economic recovery, and also to ensure America’s global leadership on technological innovation and a green economy infrastructure,” said Roger Miksad, Battery Council International executive vice president and general counsel.

Lead batteries will be the dominant rechargeable battery technology for the foreseeable future, are the most recycled consumer product in the nation, and are the global leader in a variety of green applications from well-known automotive uses supporting clean mobility in low-carbon start-stop and micro-hybrid vehicles, to the growing utility and renewable energy storage markets which are ushering in a global energy transition.

The U.S. lead battery industry invested $100 million in R&D in 2019 and through agreements with the U.S. National Laboratories system is actively pursuing next gen battery technology and energy storage to meet the needs of a market that is expected to grow from 360 GWh in 2020 to 430 GWh in 2030.  These battery innovations are being developed by U.S companies and will be built by U.S. workers in communities across the nation.

R&J Batteries' construction

U.S. Battery’s Australian Distributor R&J Battery Continues To Expand

U.S. Battery distributor R&J Batteries, one of Australia’s largest battery distributors, is expanding its presence in Queensland with the purchase of Tableland Batteries located outside of Atherton, Australia. This gives R&J its sixth branch in Queensland and its 24th branch since the company’s inception. “I believe that there are plenty of opportunities to expand our wings and grow the R&J Batteries brand throughout the Tablelands region,” said Ray Robson, Managing Director of R&J Batteries. “We currently service this area weekly from the R&J Batteries Cairns warehouse. By taking over this business, it will allow us to further explore new opportunities into regions that we have not serviced in the past.”

In addition to the new business acquisition, R&J Batteries is also in the process of constructing a new distribution center as part of its growth strategy in Queensland. The 2,750 sqm distribution center is located in Stapylton, which is opposite the existing R&J Batteries Stapylton branch. The construction of the site is expected to be completed in March 2021. According to Stuart Hamilton, Chief Executive Officer at R&J Batteries, the new distribution center will consolidate several smaller warehouses and accommodate future growth opportunities. “This is a very exciting chapter in the history of R&J Batteries. We have outgrown our current site, so moving into a dedicated, bigger facility will allow us to grow and service the entire Queensland region for many years to come. Investing close to $7,000,000 on this new facility is a major commitment from Ray and is a sure sign of his commitment to the future of R&J Batteries in Queensland as well as throughout Australia and New Zealand,” said Hamilton.

As R&J Batteries continues to expand into the region, the company also prepares for the company’s 25th-anniversary celebrations later this year.

U.S. Department of Energy Urged to Invest in U.S. Lead Battery Industry

In January 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy announced a program for creating and sustaining U.S. global leadership in energy storage utilization and exports, utilizing a secure domestic manufacturing chain independent of foreign resources of critical materials. In response, the Battery Council International (BCI) filed comments urging the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to recognize the importance of the lead battery industry to the nation’s energy storage needs and to invest in America’s lead battery industry as part of the DOE’s Energy Storage Grand Challenge.

According to the BCI, the lead battery industry by definition fulfills this goal. It is a domestic industry, which means that the raw materials used to manufacture lead batteries in the U.S. and North America are recycled and produced domestically, including the lead, plastic, and electrolyte. There is no need to import minerals or other materials from unreliable markets to ensure a steady, dependable, and affordable source of energy storage.

The BCI believes that ongoing research into advanced lead battery technologies presents incredible opportunities for the lead battery industry to deliver the energy storage needs of the future. BCI’s comments highlight several of the important advances that have been made by the lead battery industry in recent years and describe several basic science research opportunities that are well-placed for federal investment and grants.

In the coming months, DOE will be releasing opportunities for industry to seek federal grants to pursue additional research into advanced battery technologies. BCI expects to continue engaging with DOE and other stakeholders to ensure that lead batteries are among the technologies chosen to receive federal attention.

BCI’s comments can be accessed here. For more information, contact Roger Miksad at rmiksad@batterycouncil.org.

Battery Manufacturing And Recycling Efforts Are The Benchmark For The Move Towards Positive Environmental Change

This year U.S. Battery Manufacturing celebrates the 50th anniversary of Earth Day we continue to try to make environmental improvements in the face of a new threat. While this year’s celebration will be different than in previous years, we take this moment to recognize industries and individuals who are committed to making our world a better, safer place and continue to make positive strides.

At U.S. Battery, we remain focused on responsibly producing quality batteries, which set the industry standard for cycling performance and durability. From an environmental standpoint, Flooded Lead Acid (FLA) batteries are at the top of the list when considering recyclability. More than 99% of the materials are recycled into new batteries. This level of recycling means that 130 million used lead batteries are prevented from reaching landfills every year. These efforts have resulted in the recognition, of lead batteries, by the U.S. Environmental Agency as the most recycled consumer product.

As the battery industry continues to do its part for the environment, U.S. Battery and battery manufacturers worldwide, are also committed to providing an essential service during the COVID-19 outbreak. Our batteries are being used as backup power for call centers, hospitals, and temporary field hospitals, as well as powering the floor machines that are helping keep them clean.

While we’re proud to be a part of this effort, the U.S. Battery family would like to thank those on the frontline of fighting this dangerous disease. All of your efforts have been inspirational. Together we will get through this.

Join others in virtually celebrating Earth day by visiting the Earth Day Live event online, which features digital events that address climate change and showcase messages of hope and optimism. Visit https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-live/

TTBLS structure grown with additives

Improving Deep-Cycle Batteries Through Additives

Battery manufacturers have improved deep cycle battery performance through the use of additives, but not all of them result in the same benefit to customers. At the core of all deep-cycle flooded lead-acid (FLA) battery technology is a basic design that has undergone continuous improvement over more than 100 years. Lead battery chemistry is one of the most reliable and cost-effective technologies over any other type of battery used in a variety of global industries. While these batteries have historically been the most widely used and the most recycled, a variety of additives and technologies have been introduced over the last few years to improve their efficiency to an even greater extent.

Grid Alloys

Historically, the primary failure mode of deep-cycle lead-acid batteries has been positive grid corrosion. The grid alloys used to manufacture deep-cycle flooded lead-acid battery plates typically consist of lead with additions of antimony to harden the soft lead, and to improve the deep cycle characteristics of the battery. Additional metals are often added to the lead-antimony alloys to improve strength and electrical conductivity. Another additive that is used to enhance lead-antimony alloys is selenium. Selenium acts as a grain refiner in lead-antimony alloys. This fine-grain alloy provides additional strength and corrosion resistance over conventional lead-antimony alloys. The effect of these improvements is that positive grid corrosion is no longer the primary failure mode, and the cycle life of FLA deep cycle batteries has been significantly increased.

Active Materials

The starting materials for deep cycle FLA positive active materials are made from a mixture of lead oxide, sulfuric acid, and various additives. These materials improve the performance and life of the positive electrodes in a finished battery. Historically, positive electrodes have been processed using a procedure called hydroset. This procedure is designed to ‘grow’ tetrabasic lead sulfate (TTBLS) crystals in the plates to provide the strength to resist the constant expansion and contraction of the active materials during cycling. This crystal growing process has limitations in its ability to control the range of sizes of the TTBLS crystals. Through the use of crystal seeding additives, the range of crystal sizes can be controlled to the most desirable sizes. These uniform crystal sizes in the TTBLS structure result in increased initial capacity, faster cycle-up to rated capacity, higher peak capacity, and improved charging using the wide range of charger technologies used in various applications.

Concurrent with the improvements in deep cycle FLA positive active materials, improvements in the performance of deep-cycle FLA negative active materials are needed. Carbon additives have been used in the negative active materials of lead-acid batteries for many years. These additives have been used in lead-acid battery expanders to prevent the natural tendency of the negative active material to shrink or coalesce during cycling. Negative active material shrinkage can reduce the capacity and life of deep-cycle FLA batteries. Recent improvements in these carbon materials have opened up new opportunities to improve several performance limitations of lead-acid batteries. New structured carbon materials such as graphites, graphenes, and nanocarbons have been used to control sulfation and improve chargeability in a partial state of charge (PSOC) applications such as renewable energy.

Although the basic structure of an FLA battery hasn’t changed for more than 100-years, manufacturers are continually searching for ways to improve efficiency while maintaining their cost-effectiveness. Additives are one of the ways FLA batteries are becoming more efficient, and new technologies to further enhance them are on the horizon.

National Battery Day 2020

National Battery Day 2020

Celebrating The Benefits Of Lead-Acid Batteries

For industries and individuals who depend on battery power for their machinery and energy needs, lead batteries play an essential part of their work and livelihood. Celebrating National Battery Day 2020 allows these industries, as well as battery manufacturers such as U.S. Battery, to recognize the benefits lead-acid batteries have provided to various industries for more than 150 years.

Cost-Efficient Power

One of the major benefits of flooded lead-acid (FLA) batteries is that they have the lowest cost per watt-hour than any other form of battery type. This is the reason why they are the preferred type of battery in industries that have moved into incorporating more electric vehicles and machinery such as golf carts, aerial and scissor lifts, RVs, floor cleaning machines, marine applications, and well as for renewable energy storage.  With regular maintenance, FLA batteries keep equipment and vehicles running for many years with a low cost of operation, while also remaining as the safest and most reliable sources of energy, according to industry experts and studies performed by the Battery Council International.

Economic Impact

The lead battery industry in the United States also provides a large economic impact by employing nearly 25,000 workers, according to a study by the Battery Council International. This equates to a $26.3 billion in economic impact that also affects suppliers, worker spending, transportation, and distribution that combined, totals 92,000 jobs equating to an estimated 1.7 billion annually in payroll.

Environmental Sustainability

One of the least known advantages of FLA batteries is that they are one of the best examples of a sustainable and cost-effective recycling effort in which nearly 100 percent of these batteries are recycled. All the materials in a lead battery are recycled into new lead batteries, which dramatically reduces their impact on the environment for the battery industry, as well as for industries that have embraced the use of battery-powered vehicles to reduce those that are powered by combustion engines.

In addition, many automobiles utilize start-stop technology, a system that shuts off engines while idle at a stoplight to conserve fuel. This technology, according to the Consortium for Battery Innovation, claims it eliminates 4.5 million tons of gas emissions annually in the U.S. alone.

While new technologies such as Lithium continue to increase in popularity and will foreseeably grow in use, battery manufacturers are finding methods to make them as cost-efficient as FLA batteries, and are also working on ways to effectively recycle them in the same way FLA batteries have been successful industry-wide.

 

1.7 million tons of lead batteries is recycled every year

Battery Council International Among The Success Stories In Recycling

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) challenged companies and organizations to sign and be a part of the EPA’s America Recycles Pledge, representing their active participation in addressing the challenges of America’s recycling programs. After many companies signed and joined, the EPA recently recognized several organizations that have shown exemplary successes in recycling.

Among those recognized was the Battery Council International (BCI), a not-for-profit trade organization that represents the lead battery industry consisting of battery manufacturers, recyclers, and suppliers. The organization is committed to sustainability, the environment, and society by providing extensive information about recycling lead batteries to consumers and policymakers. 

With lead battery recycling at a 99.3% rate and the fact that lead batteries are safely manufactured and recycled through a “closed-loop” state-of-the-art process, BCI estimates this effort keeps more than 1.7 million tons of lead batteries out of  U.S. landfills. BCI was recognized for its training materials, intended for retailers, that help inform handlers on how to identify and remove lithium batteries from the lead recycling process. BCI created a lithium battery training tool kit designed for companies to incorporate into their onboarding programs and learning management systems.

BCI was one of many companies and organizations recognized by the EPA for their recycling efforts in 2018 and celebrates these successes to remind us of the significant progress made by individuals and companies when working together.

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia Visits California Battery Plant

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia Visits California Battery Plant

On September 26, 2019, representatives from U.S. Battery and Battery Council International were pleased to host Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) at U.S. Battery’s manufacturing facility in the city of Corona. Assemblywoman Garcia is an author of AB-142, the Lead Battery Recycling Act (2016) which requires the Department of Toxic Substances Control to investigate and clean up properties impacted by closed lead battery recycling facilities. Additionally, the legislation stabilizes the funding for the program by increasing the current fee on battery manufacturers and making it permanent.

The facility tour showcased U.S. Battery’s process for manufacturing deep-cycle batteries, which are used for a variety of consumer and commercial applications, including energy storage to support solar and wind energy generation, and zero emissions backup power systems. These applications will be especially important in California, which leads the nation in the fight against climate change and has established ambitious goals to curb emissions of climate-forcing pollutants. To achieve these goals, the state will need to avail itself of all viable clean energy technologies, including lead batteries.

The U.S. Battery manufacturing facility is part of the lead battery industry’s overall contribution to California’s economy:

  • 3,056 jobs
  • $195.9 million in annual labor income,
  • $332.9 million in annual gross state product (GSP),
  • $998.6 million in annual output (overall economic benefit), and
  • $92.9 million in annual government revenue.

These benefits are widespread and support a variety of industries throughout California. For details on the economic contribution of the lead battery industry, visit: www.essentialenergyeveryday.com

Battery industry's impact on economy

Lead Battery Industry In The U.S. Drives Economic Growth

A study by the Battery Council International reveals that the lead battery industry in the United States provides a large boost to the economy through manufacturing, recycling and mining activity while continuing to be one of the safest and most reliable sources of energy storage.

Highlights from the study include:
  • The lead battery industry employs nearly 25K workers and contributes $26.3 billion to the U.S. economy.
  • The lead battery industry indirectly affects various industries, including suppliers, worker spending, transportation and distribution, and research and development, which contribute a total of 92,000 jobs and $1.7 billion annually in payroll.
  • Lead batteries are used to power nearly 275 million cars and trucks.
  • Many modern vehicles utilize start-stop technology; a system that allows cars to temporarily stop their engines, while idling, to conserve fuel. According to the Consortium for Battery Innovation, this technology, which utilizes lead batteries, is eliminating 4.5 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually in the U.S.
  • Lead batteries have a recycling rate exceeding 99 percent, and are the most recycled consumer-produced products in the U.S. According to the BCI, a new lead battery consists of more than 80 percent recycled material, and nearly 70 percent of its lead comes from recycling from a “closed-loop” industry, making it the most environmentally sustainable of all battery technologies.

Investment in research and development also adds to the lead battery industry’s contribution to economic growth in the U.S. According to the BCI, in 2018 the lead battery industry invested over $100 million into this area, continuing to meet the rapidly changing needs within transportation, renewable energy, communications and other sectors, and has already improved the lifespan of batteries and their ability to store energy.

In total, the BCI study demonstrates how the U.S. lead battery industry annually supports $6 billion in labor income, $10.9 billion in the gross domestic product (GDP), $26.3 billion in overall economic impact, and 2.4 billion in government revenue. These impacts, according to the BCI, represent the lead battery’s total contribution to the national economy. To find out more and read the BCI’s economic impact study, visit the website at www.batterycouncil.org