Lead batteries – energy storage for a low carbon future

Big things are happening in transport and energy today. Stringent EU emissions targets are demanding a new generation of cars with dramatically reduced emissions targets. Solar and wind power are also expanding their markets rapidly around the globe.  

What’s the one of the major driving forces behind much of this game-changing tech? Lead batteries.

Efficient and innovative cars, solar panels and other renewable types of energy all depend on high-performance lead batteries, which are amongst the most reliable and safest available. They are already used in virtually all vehicles on the road – around a billion worldwide - and represent the dominant battery technology in the industrial battery market.

The challenge now is to push harder to make lead batteries perform even better, to deliver the next generation of innovative technology.

Alistair Davidson

Director for Products and Sustainability

International Lead Association

Rising to the challenge

The International Lead Association (ILA) supports the work of the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC), a consortium focussed on lead battery R&D. This includes:

  1. Working on two mild-hybrid vehicle projects in partnership with Ford and Hyundai/Kia, which utilise an advanced 48V lead battery. Initial results of these projects indicate a potential 15-20% reduction in CO2 emissions.
  2. Investigating how to improve performance and lifetime of lead batteries, in order to maximise their performance for energy storage applications.

As well as much more, through its 2016-18 Workplan.  

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Twenty-five years of innovation

While these initiatives are new, the ALABC is not. It’s been around for 25 years and has developed solutions at the heart of much of clean tech in transport and energy today.

  1. Start-stop applications: ALABC has supported the development of batteries for start-stop and micro/mild hybrid applications. This development has been a major achievement for both the battery industry and ALABC, with lead batteries now being universally used for start-stop applications. 
  2. ALABC has successfully road-tested advanced lead batteries technology in demonstration vehicle programmes.

Closed Loop Recycling

Although metals are endlessly recyclable, too much still goes to landfill…except when it comes to lead batteries.

Today, an astonishing 99% of end-of-life lead batteries are collected and recycled in Europe and North America. Why? Because lead batteries are profitable to recycle, creating a strong incentive for businesses to properly collect and treat them.  In addition, lead batteries are the perfect example of a product designed for complete end of life recycling, with all components being available for recycling. 


of end-of-life lead batteries are collected and recycled in Europe and North America

Since virtually all of the billion vehicles on the road today use lead batteries, this high recycling rate is very good news for the planet…whether you’re driving a car or not.

Key to the future

Lead batteries are irreplaceable in our low-carbon future and the work of ALABC is at the forefront of innovation. Learn more at www.alabc.org and follow the Consortium on Twitter @ALABC1 for the latest news.

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