The Consortium for Battery Innovation, which includes more than 90 member companies worldwide supporting pre-competitive research into lead battery technology, is preparing for a surge in demand for energy storage in the next decade.

The consortium says it has stepped-up its work by preparing a new technical roadmap designed to extend both the performance and lifetime of the core battery technology.

The program, which will be unveiled later this year, is aimed at funding projects designed to increase the lifecycle of advanced lead batteries and further improve their ability to operate in applications such as start-stop and micro-hybrid applications. Other areas highlighted for future study include in-depth research into the addition of elements such as carbon aimed at extending both lifetime and performance.

One of the consortium’s studies is already underway in the U.S. in partnership with the Argonne National Laboratory. It uses the laboratory’s synchrotron x-ray source to study the chemical changes occurring during charge and discharge reactions in real time.

Dr. Alistair Davidson, Director of the Consortium for Battery Innovation, said, “I expect worldwide demand for energy storage to jump significantly in the next decade. In Europe, alone, demand is set to jump by up to 10 times by 2050. So advanced lead batteries will be critical to meeting that requirement, which is over and above existing uses such as start-stop batteries and back-up for mobile networks and emergency power.

“There are many factors driving this demand, including decarbonization and electrification. Excitingly, lead batteries are now becoming more common as energy storage for renewables, such as solar and wind, as local grids and independent electricity systems come on line. Cost, recycling, safety, and reliability, as well as performance, are all important factors for these systems, which play to the strengths of lead batteries.

"Overall, there is, of course, an ever-present need for better performance and longer lifetime, so our next set of research priorities will amount to a big leap in the technology’s capability to help meet this surge in demand.

“The push for greater electrification requires a mix of battery technologies capable of delivering at scale. We are working with government research teams and universities in the U.S. and Europe to develop the technology that will usher in the next generation of advanced lead batteries.”

The consortium includes an advisory panel consisting of global battery experts who help define, assess, and guide research.

The consortium’s first workshop this year, taking place in Shanghai, China on March 5, will discuss the new research program. In addition, the consortium’s technical roadmap will be published at the BCI Convention in New Orleans, April 28–May 1, 2019.