Lead-Acid Battery Industry Poised for Growth in New Millennium

Behind Most Significant Developments of the 20th Century

Chicago, IL. (September 22, 1999) – Automotive battery manufacturers are powering up for the new, electricity-hungry vehicles that will roll off assembly lines in the new millennium. For new vehicles equipped with on-board computer systems, televisions, VCRs, computer and cell phone ports -- even refrigerators, motorists can expect to see dual-battery systems and batteries with 24 and 36 volts.

As the new millennium approaches, the lead-acid battery, a 140-year old technology this year, is more important than ever to the wired, mobile and technological lifestyle of the 21st century. There are two primary segments in the lead-acid battery industry, industrial batteries and automotive batteries.

The industrial lead-acid battery market is projected to grow by 100 percent in the next five years because of the explosion in fiber optics, broadband communications, computer networks and wireless communications, according to Battery Council International, which represents the world's lead-acid battery manufacturers and recyclers. New data networks alone are expected to carry a 14 fold increase in traffic between 1999 and 2005. Lead-acid backup batteries are necessary for these and other critical systems.

Lead-acid chemistry has undergone dramatic technological advances since its inception in 1859. "Lead-acid batteries are behind some of the most significant technological developments of the 20th century," says BCI president Ronald M. Pogue. "Life would be extremely difficult without them."

Originally, lead batteries powered electric lights on railroad cars parked in the stations and provided standby power for utilities. Today, lead batteries have countless uses and range from eight ounces in radio guided missiles, to the 1,400-ton system in Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority’s Battery Energy Storage System (BESS).

Lead-acid batteries are indispensable in:

With BCI’s leadership, the industry also institutionalized "closed-loop" recycling of its products, which reclaims the materials from spent batteries and uses them in new batteries. To advance recycling, BCI helped pass lead-acid battery recycling laws in 37 states.

For the 10th consecutive year, lead batteries topped the list of recycled consumer products. With a recycling rate of 96.5 percent for battery lead, batteries beat aluminum cans (63.5 percent), glass bottles (37.9 percent) and newspapers (67.8 percent). *

"In the 1930s, we thought battery power would be in demand for about 30 years. After that, everyone dreamed of atomic cars with wings," says DeLight Breidegam, president of East Penn Manufacturing Company, Incorporated and an early member of Battery Council International. "Today, lead-acid batteries start more vehicles than we could have imagined, and are used in applications we couldn’t have envisioned."

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Note: http://www.batterycouncil.org has more information on lead-acid batteries.

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