Climate change is one of the largest threats facing the world today. At the forefront of combating this issue are low carbon technologies. Recently, HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicles) have come forward as the most achievable solution of the moment. At present, HEV use expensive Lithium ion and NiM batteries due to their high power-to-weight ratio. Lead-acid batteries are a cheaper option, but due to their lower power-to-weight ratio they are not used.
The MEMLAB project aims to address this through the development of lightweight electrodes for use in lead-acid batteries. The project will use state-of-the-art fibre production technology to create titanium and aluminium fibre networks. These will be coated in lead and lead oxide. The objective is to achieve a greater than 50% reduction in the overall weight of a lead-acid battery thereby significantly increasing their power-to-weight ratio making them a realistic alternative for application in hybrid electric vehicles.
In addition to applications in the hybrid electric vehicle market, the replacement of standard lead-acid batteries, containing large and heavy quantities of lead, by lightweight lead-acid batteries will also lead to a significant reduction in the polluting effect of road-going vehicles due to the large quantity of vehicles in use. The number of lead-acid batteries currently manufactured in Europe is approximately 70 million per year.