Letter from America: the heat is on
I have spent a week deep in the Arizona desert with the US’s leading battery manufacturers discussing the opportunities and threats facing the industry. First the good news.
The annual gathering of the Battery Council International heard that innovation through research and development is high on the agenda for most companies. Our own global innovation hub, ALABC, is spearheading multi-million-dollar projects which will support the next generation of high-performing lead batteries. In the next few months we will be reporting more on some of these projects, including important new collaborations with government agencies and higher education.
However, in Tucson, Arizona, soaring temperatures only added to the feeling that the heat is on lead battery producers. Optimism about the future and a commitment to innovation, cannot hide some of the real concerns about regulatory challenges facing the lead battery industry in the US, and in Europe. So the call to action for the global lead battery industry is to show that it is essential today, and that it is key to a renewable energy future.
The global market for renewable energy storage is projected to grow at a staggering rate between now and 2025, and the pressure of demand will require more than one battery technology solution.
Lead batteries will play a critical role in meeting that demand – and we’re already seeing a surge in projects where advanced lead batteries are delivering reliable and safe energy storage, supporting everything from national grids to smaller microgrid projects. You can see some recent examples here.
Advanced lead battery technologies help maximise the benefits of renewable sources of electricity – something policy makers worldwide should applaud and encourage. In this context efforts by some legislators to impose more restrictions on lead batteries – despite a record in the US and Europe of more than 99% recycling – is both short-sighted and counter-productive.