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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.

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.