Atraveda is providing the material for Glamorgan University’s research and development facility to test a “bi-polar” lead acid battery design. The news of the collaboration to produce the world’s first commercially viable bi-polar lead-acid battery was announced at the opening of the UK’s first Advanced Bi-polar Battery Development research facility. The UK is certainly in deep on bi polar technology. There are serious reasons why.

Bi-polar offers distinct advantages:

  • More power, with higher specific energy the watt-hours per mass or weight and higher energy density, which is watt-hours per volume.
  • So they are smaller, some 40% less volume or 60% the size of a regular lead acid battery.
  • They weight less too, some 30% less or 70% the mass of regular lead acid batteries.
  • Even more useful for a consumer is the life is doubled.
  • Half as much lead is needed and other materials are also reduced.
  • Production is easily repeatable in mass unit volume and would go to scale with little new investment.

These points mean that existing production facilities can increase output from the same basic production equipment.

Bi Polar Comparitive Internal Current Flow. Click image for more.

Bi Polar Comparitive Internal Current Flow. Click image for more.

They are also simpler in construction, allowing studier and less complex construction. The chemical reactants are stacked such that power moves out with less internal resistance for more efficiency. Internal connections such the series arrangement in a 12-volt battery are not needed. Just stack 2-volt bi-polar batters, which could mean a 2-volt cell could be replaced rather than an entire 12 volt series wired unit.

Bi Polar Battery Design. Click image for more.

Bi Polar Battery Design. Click image for more.

The design offers the use of the materials inside to be much more completely utilized. In a conventional lead acid battery less than a third of the lead gets used. In a bi-polar the utilization gets past 60%

The competitive battle for market is under way. With Bolivia angling to extract a ransom for lithium, lead acid has an opening. Bi-polar gets past the nickel cadmium battery in specific energy and even in energy density. That gets bi-polar to about 70% of the position advantage of nickel metal hydride technology.

Bi Polar Battery Competitive Position. Click image for more.

Bi Polar Battery Competitive Position. Click image for more.

In the collaboration Atraverda will provide its bi-polar substrates containing the proprietary Ebonex conductive ceramic material. Ebonex will be packaged into unique battery systems developed and tested using the expertise of the university’s researchers. A significant number of prototype batteries will be developed and produced in the first year, which will in turn be commercially tested by Atraverda and associated partners.

The Welsh Assembly Government is supporting Glamorgan University in its knowledge transfer programs and has also helped Atraverda to set up its UK headquarters in Wales to develop its bi-polar battery technology. The Advanced Bi-polar Battery Development center will have a range of fully automated testing equipment and facilities to carry out R&D into any type of battery system.

The bi-polar design seems to hinge on the Ebonex material that if its economical could make an important breakthrough. With performance results expected to exceed NiCad the market could be huge in short order.

Should competitive pricing come to market the NiCad guys could be in for some market share loss. The current Toyota Prius is using NiCad and others certainly have it on their list. Lithium-ion’s market share potential is also threatened; a large portion of the potential raw volume would be competitive to this technology. The news must be a huge warning to Bolivia, get market volume, pricing will be a second place issue when gross cash flow in what’s in mind in a governmental monopoly dream getting shot to pieces.

Consumers need to keep watch. Combined technologies when set out for licensing and investing often mistake a breakthrough as having unlimited lifetimes. We can only hope for now that Atraverda grasps the importance to race to market volume and mass production in declining prices. By no means can they expect competitors to stay in place.

All this bodes well for grid storage, transport and other high density and specific energy needs. Products that are compact, low mass with good energy properties have big futures. Competition is gathering strength.

Michigan and now Wales are backing local industry for battery business. The dark horses are still out there though, EEStor and other, plus such things as Blacklight and someday perhaps, Low Energy Nuclear Reactions.

What’s first? More energy crises or price and product breakthroughs?

It’s getting really interesting.


3 Comments so far

  1. The Atraverda Bipolar VRLA (yes, lead-acid) Battery « The Electric Chronicles on February 12, 2011 7:15 AM

    […] using a material they developed called Ebonex Electrically Conductive Ceramic Powder.  By the story from 2009 on New Energy and Fuel, we have claims of […]

  2. Tracy on May 2, 2011 10:19 PM

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  3. Lead Acid Science/ Q&A and collabrative brainstorm for solutions - Fuel Economy, Hypermiling, EcoModding News and Forum - on June 23, 2012 9:22 PM

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