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Axion's PbC battery will be marketed for use in start-stop micro hybrids like the Ford Fusion.
Axion Power Receives DOE Grant to Fund Commercialization of Lead Carbon Batteries for Micro Hybrids
The U.S. Department of Energy recently awarded a grant of $150,000 to ALABC member Axion Power International to fund a commercialization plan for the use of its lead carbon PbC® batteries in a “low-cost, high-efficiency” dual battery architecture for micro-hybrid vehicles. The grant represents not only recognition of the capabilities of Axion’s PbC batteries but also an acknowledgement by the DOE of the potential of lead carbon battery technology to meet the market demands for the next generation of consumer-ready hybrid vehicles.
With an estimated market size of 25 million by the year 2016, micro-hybrids represent a significant boon for the lead battery industry since lead-acid and lead carbon chemistries are the preferred battery technologies for the start-stop systems that are a key feature of micro-hybrids. Lead-acid and lead carbon designs, like Axion Power’s PbC battery, are favored for micro-hybrid duty because of their low-cost, dependability, closed-loop life cycle, and (especially in the case of lead carbon) charge acceptance in start-stop applications.
Axion Power was one of 75 companies out of a total of 764 applicants to earn an award in the first phase of the DOE's program. According to Axion CEO Tom Granville, the DOE grant is for the maximum allocation under Phase I of the Department’s Small Business Innovation Research program, but also represents the first step in the grant approval process that could lead to larger awards in future phases of the program.
According to the JCI study, most Americans are receptive to start-stop systems like those in the 2013 Kia Rio.
JCI Study Shows U.S. Consumers Interested in Start-Stop Vehicles
A recent consumer study by ALABC member Johnson Controls found that 97 percent of Americans are ready for start-stop technology and the improved fuel economy it represents. The study measured responses from 1,200 participants regarding fuel-saving power train technologies based on attributes such as purchase price, fuel economy, annual fuel cost and performance.
According to the study, a majority of surveyed consumers like the start-stop concept because of its fuel cost savings, and others (nearly 25 percent) believe the idea “just makes sense.” In addition, more than one-third of respondents said they would pay up to $500 for a 5 percent improvement in fuel economy, and that figure rises significantly when increased fuel prices, lower premiums, or greater fuel economy is considered.
Start-stop technology, which has been helping to improve fuel economy in Europe for several years, is scheduled to make its debut in major American automaker offerings in the next couple of years. Lead-acid batteries are used in a majority of current start-stop systems, and an expansion of the market is expected to provide a significant boost to the industry.
DOE Vehicle Technologies Annual Merit Review Promising for Lead-Acid
In the most recent edition of the ALABC’s U.S. Battery Policy Blog, the lead-acid battery industry received some positive exposure recently at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Program Annual Merit Review. Held last month in Washington, DC, the review included: a report on the grants for battery recovery under the Obama Administration’s Recovery Act; a presentation by Idaho National Laboratory that included accomplishments of the UltraBattery design, and recognition of some ALABC members, including Exide Technologies and EnerG2. Some reports that were presented at the review focused on the cost factors and return-on-investment of competing battery chemistries as well as steps to mitigate the high cost of new vehicle technologies.
Study of Lead-Carbon Electrodes with Inhibitors in HEV Duty Now Available from ECS
A study conducted by Dr. Detchko Pavlov and Dr. Plamen Nikolov of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences on using certain inhibitors in HEV duty lead-carbon batteries is now available for download from the Electrochemical Society website for US $15. The study, entitled “Lead-Carbon Electrode with Inhibitor of PbSO4 Recrystallization in Lead-Acid Batteries Operating on HRPSoC Duty,” was originally presented in October 2011 at the 220th meeting of the Electrochemical Society in Boston, MA. The results present experimental solutions to the effects of sulfation of the negative plates as a result of incomplete charge of the battery cells in HEV high-rate partial-state-of-charge (HRPSoC) duty. The report shows how the addition of poly-aspartic acid to either the solution or the negative plate can slow the recrystallization of larger PbSO4 crystals that cause sulfation.

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