What is the ALABC?
The ALABC organizes research and development programs aimed at enhancing lead-acid battery performance and marketability for applications such as hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), start/stop automotive systems, remote area power supply (RAPS) systems, renewable energy and grid storage applications, and stationary and telecommunication backup systems.
As a pre-competitive research consortium, the ALABC offers its members the opportunity to maximize their R&D investment by: proposing and/or participating in cutting edge projects carried out by some of the world’s most advanced research centers; initiating and/or participating in discussions and presentations related to their findings; and receiving timely access to the collective knowledge gained through their successful execution. Backed by years of industry expertise, the membership works toward a common goal of advancing lead-acid battery technology for cost-effective, sustainable markets.
The ALABC is based in Research Triangle Park, NC, and is a program of the International Lead Association, based in London. It is currently in its eighth program phase, which runs through 2015, and it maintains an international membership of 77 companies and organizations.
The ALABC was originally formed in 1992 by prominent members of the lead and battery industries to advance the capabilities of the valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) battery for use in numerous applications. During the early years of its existence, the consortium’s main focus was to assess VRLA battery performance for pure electric vehicle operation as a response to proposed government mandates for lower vehicle emissions. Over the years, however, the focus shifted to developing advanced lead-acid (and eventually, lead carbon) battery systems for micro- and mild-hybrid electric vehicles, as well as for frequency regulation, utility and other renewable energy storage applications.
In more than 20 years of existence, ALABC research has:
Resolved many of the problems that have minimized lead-acid battery performance (corrosion, sulfation, capacity loss);
Produced optimized grids, materials and additives to enhance lead-acid battery performance;
Established optimal charge regimes to get the most of lead-acid batteries;
Created standards for testing and testing profiles to better evaluate battery performance;
Driven the evolution of advanced lead-acid and lead carbon technology; and
Expanded existing market applications and created new market applications for lead-acid and lead carbon batteries.
RESEARCH PROGRAM OVERVIEW
As the ALABC’s research programs continue to support various market applications for lead-acid battery technology, the 2010-2012 program focused on the design and demonstration of carbon-enhanced lead-acid batteries for micro- and mild-hybrid electric vehicle duty. ALABC research has demonstrated that certain designs of carbon-enhanced lead-acid batteries are able to perform the high-rate partial-state-of-charge (HRPSoC) function that is required in hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and, thus, have the potential to displace more expensive battery chemistries in this market. Because of this, the ALABC will continue to help study, produce and demonstrate these battery systems, and promote them as the high-power, low-cost and highly-recyclable power source of choice for these and other applications.