2017-10-23
Homegrown tech company infuses new life into lead acid batteries

A homegrown company, Log 9 Materials, has made a technological breakthrough in the capacity of lead acid batteries used in motor vehicles, inverters and solar energy storage units.

“What we have so far been able to achieve is a 30% improvement in the amount of charge the battery can store,” Akshay Singhal, founder of Log 9 Materials, said in an interview. “So, earlier if the storage capacity was for five hours, it can now run for 6.5 to 7 hours.”

Mr. Singhal added that his company had achieved a 35% increase in the longevity of the batteries. “And the potential for this is a 50% increase in capacity, and a 40% increase in the life,” he said. The breakthrough, in an area that has not seen a change in the materials used in the last 30 years, comes with the use of a form of carbon called graphene. Mr. Singhal, a graduate of IIT Roorkie, said that Log 9 Materials started as a graphene and nanoparticles manufacturers, but quickly morphed into a product manufacturer since “it makes more sense if there are first products in the market that are graphene based before the market for the material picks up.”

“Graphene is a very thin material,” he added. “And as thin as a material is, the more is its capacitance (ability to store an electrical charge). Graphene is a single layer of atoms closely placed together. It’s the thinnest you can get. It is also very conducting, so not only can you can store more charge, but you can withdraw it at a much higher rate.”

“For example, if one takes a normal battery that can run four fans at a time, and start running 10 fans on it, it will run, but where earlier it was running for two hours, now it will discharge in 30 minutes. In addition, the repeated complete discharges of the battery will also degrade its inner plate, reducing its life.”

Full discharges

Graphene can not only increase the charge that the battery can hold (running four fans for three hours instead of the earlier two hours, for example), but also increase the number of full discharges it can withstand.

Apart from this, the advantage of such a graphene formulation is that adding it to the battery does not require any change in the manufacturing process. “Where the manufacturer was adding, say, four powders to the paste inside the battery, now he will have to add five powders,” Mr. Singhal said.

According to Mr Singhal, more than 95% of energy storage devices in India use lead acid batteries, including motor vehicles, inverters and solar energy storage units. However, the company is also working on similar advancements in lithium ion battery technology — such as those found in cellphones — in the future.

Source- The Hindu