Retail Stores Now Testing Autonomous Battery Operated Sweeper Scrubbers

According to a FOXBusiness report, Walmart is in the process of testing autonomous floor scrubbers. These electric vehicles are built by Brain Corp and utilize four six-volt flooded lead-acid batteries. Brain Corp reports that these vehicles feature multi-layer sensors that control navigation and their internal systems also learn from users to replicate multiple scrubbing routes.

A Walmart spokesperson in the FOXBusiness report says this is a pilot program that is currently being tested in some of the company’s Arkansas retail stores. According to Brain Corp, these vehicles are currently working in approximately 50 malls and big-box retailers across the U.S.

Industry Investment And Closed-Loop Collection Increases Battery Recycling Rate

The Battery Council International released its National Recycling Rate Study which shows that lead batteries have a recycling rate of 99.3 percent. The industry’s state-of-the-art closed-loop collection and recycling system, along with industry investment, helped create the nearly perfect recycling rate for flooded lead-acid batteries.

The study points out that in addition to keeping 1.7 million tons of batteries out of landfills (annually), lead batteries sustainability reduce CO2 emissions in vehicles through start-stop battery technology, hybrid/electric vehicles, and smart grid technology that improves the reliability of wind and solar farms.  “Our goal is to recycle and reuse as many batteries as possible as part of our commitment to provide an environmentally-friendly source of energy storage,” said Mark Thorsby, executive vice president of BCI. “On average, a new lead battery is comprised of more than 80 percent recycled lead battery material. Every component of the battery, from lead and plastic to sulfuric acid, is recyclable which reduces waste, ensures that they are properly disposed of and decreases the need for virgin ore mining.”

The state-of-the-art closed-loop process that ensures lead batteries’ high rate of recycling is recognized by the World Economic Forum and MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics as the world’s most successful example of a circular economy-featuring the design, production, transportation, recycling and recovery of vehicle batteries. For more information on battery recycling and batteries used in a variety of industries, visit www.usbattery.com

Fire Safety Concerns Around Lithium Battery Powered Golf Cars

Concerns over fire safety around lithium batteries used in vehicles such as golf cars, particularly when used on public streets (LSV’s and NEV’s), are prompting firefighters to share information on extinguishing fires involving lithium batteries. While there have been no reported cases of fires from lithium powered golf cars, examples of automobile fires have given rise to this concern.

In an article published on MSN Autos, firefighters in Germany issued a press release to other firefighters about an accident on a highway in Austria where an electric vehicle equipped with lithium-ion batteries crashed and the batteries caught fire. The German firefighters reported that while they were extinguishing the fire, they had to wear extreme respiratory control equipment because of the toxic fumes emitted from the lithium batteries.  Also, the vehicle fire repeatedly re-ignited after apparently being extinguished and had to be extinguished repeatedly. They indicated that it was only after cutting the power to the lithium-ion batteries, that it was possible to finally put out the fire*.

Vehicle manufacturers utilizing lithium-ion batteries caution firefighters that lithium-ion battery fires can take up to 24-hours to fully extinguish. They also advise firefighters to inform second responders (law-enforcement, tow personnel) that there is a risk of the battery re-igniting

This concern has crossed over into golf cars, as some manufacturers are now utilizing lithium-ion battery systems. Any battery powered golf car that is not operated properly or charged in a closed environment (without proper ventilation), runs the risk of a potential fire. Although it is not very likely that lithium-ion powered golf cars will catch fire, it is important for consumers to be aware of the differences among battery types and the hazards that can occur in order to provide the highest level of safety possible.

*-MSN Autos – Here’s What Firefighters Do To Extinguish A Battery Fire On A Tesla Model S

European Battery Summit Concludes Electric Vehicles Will Continue To Use Lead Batteries

The European Union Battery Commission hosted a summit in Brussels, Belgium, that shed some light on the use of lead-acid batteries used in virtually all electric vehicles in Europe.

The EU Battery Commission is a world leader in lead battery innovation, manufacturing, and recycling, employing over 25,000 people. According to the Battery Council International, the summit addressed the transition to zero-emissions vehicles, and the continued use of lead-acid batteries for the near future. The EU pointed out that sixty percent of all vehicles sold in Europe in 2016 incorporated stop-start, lead battery technology. It also acknowledged that lead batteries are also present in micro-hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles and that virtually every vehicle on the road in Europe today relies on a lead battery. The summit concluded that the demand for lead-acid batteries will continue into the foreseeable future for transportation and critical industrial applications.

The International Lead Association (ILA) agreed that there is an urgent need for a clear European framework that supports innovation in battery technology and strongly supports that the framework must recognize and support the future potential for all battery types, including lead and lithium batteries. The summit concluded on the following steps to ensure the goals of clean energy with meeting increasing demands for lead batteries.

It suggested that the Commission remain technology neutral to support all battery chemistries, as well as meeting the demands of a growing electric vehicle market, in which all of the vehicles on the road utilize lead-acid batteries. The Commission also recognized that lead batteries play a vital, cost-effective and proven role in the reduction of CO2 emissions in all types of vehicles, including start-stop and micro-hybrids.

When it came to environmental issues, the Commission was quick to point out that there is presently no commercially available process to economically recycle lithium batteries, and that lead-acid batteries are the most recycled consumer product on the planet. From a sustainability standpoint, the Commission also stated that 80 percent of a new lead battery is comprised of recycled materials. This is a stark contrast to many of the newer battery technologies that rely heavily on substances that are considered critical raw materials.

Low Supply For Lithium Is Driving Up Prices

According to Bloomberg Markets, the supply of lithium to keep up with demand is struggling. In an article authored by Laura Milan Lombrana and Johnathan Gilbert, lithium mines are having difficulties getting the raw materials out. Extracting the minerals from areas such as South America are proving to be more difficult than expected, and the result is a change in the market that is driving up prices. “The uncertainty on the supply side is driving prices up and making investors nervous,” said Daniela Desormeaux, CEO of Santiago-based lithium consulting firm SignumBOX. “We need a new project entering the market every year to satisfy growing demand. If that doesn’t happen, the market will be tight.”

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Australia is the largest lithium producer, with Chile and Argentina accounting for 67 percent of global reserves. In one example, Orocobre Ltd., an Australia based company mining in South America, forecasted it would produce 15,000 metric tons for the year through June but ended up at 11,862 tons. The discrepancy was attributed to additional disruptions from bad pumps and bad weather that have slowed production.

The Bloomberg article goes on to say that expansions by established producers, including China’s Tianqi Lithium Corp. and North Carolina’s Albemarle Corp. will more than likely leave a small global surplus by year end, but supply disruptions could put the market back into deficit, CRU’s Fuentes said. If annual demand for Tesla’s Model 3 reaches 700,000 units, as Musk says could happen, the industry will need additional supplies from lithium newcomers. Click Here for the full story on BloombergMarkets.com.

U.S. Battery Manufacturing Launches New Endurance Plus™ Line Of Deep-Cycle Batteries

U.S. Battery Manufacturing has launched a new line of deep-cycle batteries called Endurance Plus™. The Endurance Plus™ line is made up of 6-volt, 8-volt and 12-volt batteries that feature improved overall performance and higher ratings in an all-new bright red color case and top. “Our engineers were able to improve the performance on some of our most popular batteries that include the US 2000XC2, US 8VGCXC2, and US 12VRXXC2, to create a new category for the U.S. Battery brand we are calling Endurance Plus™,” said Don Wallace, U.S. Battery CMO/Executive VP Sales and Marketing.  “The Endurance Plus™ line provides our distributors with the opportunity to offer customers the industry’s most efficient batteries with higher performance ratings, ultimately giving customers a better battery and greater overall value.”

Endurance Plus™ batteries are manufactured in the U.S.A. and feature molded-in UTL terminals that have torque values that are consistent with current burned-on UTL versions. Dual molded terminals will be available soon as an option. The batteries also feature U.S. Battery’s exclusive XC2 formulation that give them the highest initial capacity, fastest cycle-up time to full-rated capacity, improved recharge-ability, and the highest total energy delivered than any battery in their class.

The full line-up of Endurance Plus™ batteries, ratings and sizes are available on the company’s website, at www.usbattery.com.

Lead Recycling Threatened By Lithium-ion Batteries

The Battery Council International raises concerns over Lithium-ion batteries contaminating the near perfect record of lead battery recycling

New information distributed by the Battery Council International, warns about the introduction of lithium ion batteries entering the lead battery collection and recycling process. According to BCI, lead-acid batteries are recycled at the highest rate of any commercial product – a rate of 97 to 99 percent. With the increase of lithium-ion battery use, the introduction of these batteries into the lead recycling system has resulted in a number of safety incidents as reported by the International Lead Association, ILA.

The BCI warns he risks of fires and explosions can occur during transport, storage, battery breaking and smelting processes of used lead-based batteries if lithium-ion batteries are mistakenly or knowingly added into the recycling process. Since both types of batteries look similar, proper identification is required when recycling plants receive pallets or bins containing used batteries.

To properly inform recyclers the lead recycling and battery industries of North America and Europe, the International Lead Association (ILA), the industrial and automotive battery manufacturing and recycling associations of Battery Council International (BCI) and Europe (EUROBAT), and the Association of Battery Recyclers (ABR), have created a joint initiative to warn about lithium battery contamination. These organizations urge battery collectors to:

1) Look for the proper labeling – Battery labels contain a Pb symbol on lead batteries and a Li symbol on lithium batteries. It may also be possible to distinguish the chemistries by their manufacturer.

2) Notice the weight difference – Although they have similar dimensions lithium batteries are much lighter than lead batteries.

“The lead battery industry has the most successful recycling program in the world,” says Mark Thorsby, Executive Vice President of BCI. “In no way do we want to jeopardize our success or compromise our commitment to sustainability. Preventing lithium-ion batteries from entering the lead battery recycling process is critical to achieving that outcome.”

While it’s important to carefully read the battery labels before collecting or sending batteries to a lead recycling plant, another solution is now being developed. The U.S. Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and the International Electrotechnical Committee (IEC) are proposing to develop standardized labels that are color-coded to allow for better identification between lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries.

 

For more information on properly identifying flooded lead-acid batteries and lithium-ion batteries, contact U.S. Battery Manufacturing, contact the Battery Council International at www.batterycouncil.org. Or contact U.S. Battery Manufacturing at 1675 Sampson Ave. Corona, CA 92879. (800) 695-0945. Visit https://www.usbattery.com.