It had to happen, joy, congratulations and celebrations.  The Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organization, Australia’s national science agency and Cleantech Ventures, a nearly worldwide consortium of venture capital and other businesses, announced the formation and startup of Smart Storage Pty, Ltd. to develop and commercialize a marriage of lead acid battery technology and supercapacitors.  Three Cheers for the Mates Down Under!

Most of us are familiar with the common lead acid battery that stands by to start various engines such as our car.  And as lots of us know, lead acid is great, as long as is cared for and replaced in time.  But there are versions of lead acid technology that offers deeper discharging that cost more and last less time.  Used for marine electric motors and portable service vehicles like forklifts the deep discharge lead acid battery is the low cost leader going into hybrid technology.

Hybrid use is a much higher standard of battery performance.  A wide range of temperature, discharge rates from rapid to slow, and charge rates both quick, slow and most any rate in between are not lead acid’s leading characteristics.  But, lead acid is the low cost leader.

CSIRO’s innovation is to integrate a super capacitor into the battery rather than just wire a supercapacitor into a system.  That makes a “hybrid” battery.  The new company is tasked to add development to drive down costs and simplify the manufacturing in designs that meet more varied operating conditions.

The technology uses an “asymmetric” supercapacitor electrode in the battery cell with advanced material construction forming current management to absorb charge and discharge rapidly at efficiencies well above standard battery designs.  The expectation is common manufacturing can produce Smart Storage batteries with 50% more charge power and at least a three fold longer life of conventional lead acid batteries.

These sharp folks realize that the development path needs to go to manufacturers already making lead acid products.  Andrew Pickering of Cleantech Ventures says, “Too often new technologies simply aren’t affordable and that significantly retards market uptake.”

The first iteration of the technology was for hybrid vehicles where the design called ‘Ultrabattery” was tested and passed for hybrid vehicle use.

With this wedding of new and old there is a fine example of readily merging known technologies and offering new products that meet the new demands from the changes coming in fueling and storage of energy.  While I have reservations about the amount of energy in these heavy, but well understood, easily made and handily recycled lead based batteries, this technology is about ready now and can be adopted by existing manufacturers and come to market very very quickly.  Good news, and congratulations, indeed.


8 Comments so far

  1. Howard Patrick on December 21, 2007 8:12 PM

    As an Australian I was very interested to read of this development but it seems that the CSIRO, if it is not already doing so, be talking to Firefly.

    It seems Firefly, a company established by Caterpillar and other, has already revolutionised the lead battery.

    I suspect the “charge power” mentioned in the article is well exceeded by the Caterpillar batteries.

    It would be great if the CSIRO work could add to the impressive performance achieved by Firefly?

  2. Haywood Rochin on May 26, 2011 6:54 PM

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  3. Jennifer Himmelwright on September 1, 2011 10:09 AM

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  4. Taylor Pniewski on September 5, 2011 6:36 AM

    Thanks for posting. Good to see that not everyone is using RSS feeds to build their blogs 😉

  5. Laura Lough on September 5, 2011 11:39 AM

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