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.