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04/11/2020 - 05/11/2020

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The greener alternative to lead acid batteries

The greener alternative to lead acid batteries

The Lead Crystal battery is new to the UK, bringing patented technology that promises to reduce the environmental, safety and performance impact of traditional lead acid and lead gel batteries.


It is reckoned that there are hundreds of billions of batteries in use around the world, and about a third of the global market is accounted for by lead acid and lead gel batteries. Of course, many of these are in our cars, but the same technology also provides the battery of choice in numerous industrial applications, including UPS systems, solar installations, roadside power cabinets, telecom exchanges and traction systems, as well as the emerging e-mobility market. The performance might only by average when compared to lithium ion batteries, but the cost is far lower.

Cost versus performance isn't the only argument to consider, however. Environmental impact and safety are also key concerns, and lead based batteries aren't terribly good either for the environment or for the people who handle them. Although these batteries are 95% recyclable, the processing can be quite toxic. In the developing world, it is estimated that some twelve million people are affected today to lead contamination from less stringently controlled manufacturing and recycling processes. Further, on a standard lead acid battery, the acid tends to be drawn into the battery casing, making it impossible to recycle the case material.

Now, though, there is an alternative, with the introduction of Lead Crystal batteries. Their introduction follows years of research and development to produce a cleaner, safer, better-performing range of industrial batteries for use across a wide range of applications. Not only are they said to perform better across a range of measures than lead acid or lead gel batteries, but they also contain no toxic fluids, cadmium or antimony, are up to 99% recyclable and are ISO 14001 certified.

Manufactured by Betta Batteries, and available in the UK exclusively through Harland Simon UPS, the new Lead Crystal batteries can be used across a wide range of applications wherever traditional lead acid and lead gel batteries are currently used, including electric powered vehicles, within uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units, for back-up and operating power systems within industrial settings, and within a range of renewable energy and telecomm-unications applications.

Phil Dunn, business development manager for Harland Simon UPS, says: "By the nature of their manufacture and what is contained within them, traditional lead acid and lead gel batteries are extremely harmful for the environment and come with a range of handling, storage, transport and recycling issues. They also perform poorly when compared to new lead crystal batteries. The development of our lead crystal technology means there is now an alternative battery solution which will not only enable a business to reduce the hazards associated with lead acid and lead gel but enjoy significantly increased performance benefits, much longer shelf life and better environmental credentials."

Performance advantages

Lead Crystal technology consists of a number of special and unique features, including a patented micro porous high absorbent mat, extra-thick plates cast from a high-purity lead calcium selenium alloy, and a non-corrosive SiO2 based electrolyte solution. During the initial charging, the electrolyte solidifies and forms a non-toxic white crystalline powder. This is the key to the safe, fluidless, high performance and to the production of an environmentally friendly battery. They are far more rugged when compared to standard lead acid or lead gel battery technologies, and don't suffer from the transportation problems that afflict lithium ion batteries, being classified as non-hazardous for transportation.

In addition to coming with a three-year factory guarantee, the new lead crystal batteries charge twice as fast as conventional alternatives, can be 100% discharged daily and fully recovered, have a service life of 18 years, can provide in excess of 6000 cycles (dependent on DoD) and can be stored for up to two years with no additional charging required. They also have a wide operating temperature range of -40 to +65°C and are highly recyclable. These measures give them significant advantages over standard lead acid and lead gel batteries, as well as over lithium ion batteries in many areas. The cost is approximately double that of a standard lead acid battery, but the cost per cycle is far lower, which has major implications for total cost of ownership.

Dunn adds: "Very often taking the greener option, whilst good for the environment, can mean compromising on performance. The beauty of our new lead crystal batteries is that not only are you replacing a hazardous component with a much safer solution, but in terms of the performance benefits of lead crystal over lead acid or lead gel, traditional batteries simply cannot compete, whether they need to be used and recharged daily, are there to act as an essential back up should power go down or need to be stored ready for when they are needed.

"For any business using battery operated equipment, the launch of the new Lead Crystal technology is a major step forward - on every level and brings a range of very measurable benefits."

Harland Simon UPS holds stocks of the lead crystal batteries in the UK both at its Milton Keynes HQ and at a warehouse facility near Peterborough. There is also major stock holding in Germany and Holland, enabling the company to address most low to medium volume orders. The batteries are available in 2V, 6V, 12V and 24V ranges and in a variety of models to suit the widest application requirements.

Applications include e-mobility, the traction markets, start-stop automotive systems, electric golf buggies, renewable energy, telecomms, rail, marine and leisure. And, in addition to supplying the new batteries, Harland Simon is also incorporating the range into its own uninterrupted power supply systems, which it has designed and supplied to a wide range of industry sectors - from utilities, marine, defence, industrial, manufacturing and public sector, through to the emerging renewable energy sector. Indeed, Harland Simon UPS has over 20 years experience in the power protection business, with products that range from standard commercial off the shelf (COTS) equipment with simple modifications up to bespoke, custom-built equipment designed to meet customers' requirements and detailed specifications.
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