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Lead Acid Batteries

Lead-acid batteries were invented in 1859 by the French physicist Gaston Planté.

Planté developed the lead-acid battery while working on ways to store electrical energy. His invention marked a significant milestone in the development of rechargeable batteries and laid the foundation for the modern lead-acid battery technology that is still in use today. Over the years, advancements have been made in the construction, materials, and design of lead-acid batteries, resulting in variations such as the flooded lead-acid battery and the valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) battery.

A lead-acid battery is composed of several cells, each consisting of two lead plates—the negative electrode (anode) made of pure lead and the positive electrode (cathode) coated with lead dioxide (PbO2). The plates are immersed in a sulfuric acid electrolyte, and they are separated by insulating material to prevent direct contact.

The internal structure of a Lead Acid battery

The internal structure of a Lead Acid battery

Lead-acid batteries have played a crucial role in various industries and applications for over a century and continue to be widely used today, particularly in automotive, standby power, and renewable energy systems. Despite the emergence of alternative battery technologies, the lead-acid battery remains a reliable and cost-effective choice for specific applications.

Most common applications of Lead Acid batteries

Automotive: Lead-acid batteries are extensively used in automotive vehicles, including cars, motorcycles and trucks. They provide the initial power needed to start the engine (starting batteries) and supply electricity for the vehicle’s electrical systems.

An automotive Lead Acid battery

An automotive Lead Acid battery

Backup Power Systems: Lead-acid batteries serve as reliable backup power sources in applications where uninterrupted power is critical. They are used in Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) systems to provide temporary power to electronic devices during electrical outages. Lead-acid batteries are also used in emergency lighting systems and standby power applications, such as telecommunications, data centres, and hospitals.

Uninterruptible Power Supply with its Lead Acid battery

Uninterruptible Power Supply with its Lead Acid battery

Renewable Energy Storage and Off-Grid Power Systems: Lead-acid batteries are used in off-grid and hybrid renewable energy systems to store excess energy generated by solar panels or wind turbines. These batteries store the energy during peak production periods and release it when the renewable energy sources are not generating electricity. They provide a reliable and cost-effective energy storage solution for powering lights, small appliances, and other essential devices in areas without access to a power grid.

A solar off grid deep cycle Lead Acid battery

A solar off grid deep cycle Lead Acid battery

Forklifts and Material Handling Equipment: Lead-acid batteries are commonly employed to power electric forklifts and other industrial material handling equipment. Their ability to deliver high current makes them suitable for applications requiring robust and consistent power output.

A forklift lead acid battery

A forklift lead acid battery

Marine and RV Applications: Lead-acid batteries are used in marine vessels and recreational vehicles (RVs) to provide power for lighting, navigation equipment, appliances, and other onboard electrical systems. They are designed to withstand the vibrations and harsh conditions associated with marine and RV environments. They are often also used as starting batteries, especially for outboard engines.

A few different types of Marine Lead Acid batteries

A few different types of Marine Lead Acid batteries

Golf Carts and Electric Vehicles: Lead-acid batteries are utilized in golf carts, electric scooters, and some low-speed electric vehicles. These batteries offer sufficient power output for short-range transportation applications.

A Golf Cart Lead Acid battery

A Golf Cart Lead Acid battery