Over the past ten years, PENOX GmbH has successfully worked together with the battery industry to improve production processes and the performance of automotive batteries. At the same time, attention has been focused on the reduction and optimization of the formation process for industrial batteries. In recent years, there have been significant changes in the specifications to meet the new requirements from hybrid vehicle applications, namely, start–stop and braking energy recuperation that effect both the charge acceptance and the state-of-charge of the battery. This has led to the introduction of test procedures by car manufacturers — such as the 17.5% depth-of-discharge (DoD) test — that are posing new challenges to the battery industry. In 2013 and 2014, PENOX successfully conducted a test programme with some European battery producers to develop batteries that would meet the new requirements. Positive plates were produced using TBLS+®, a PENOX tetrabasic lead sulfate seeding material, and then tested in combination with negatives that contained PENOX expander mixes. The results demonstrated that TBLS+® improved the positive plate in terms of lifetime and deep-discharge performance and thereby withstood the 17.5% DoD test. In combination with PENOX expander mix type PE110 HCA, charge-acceptance was also improved without increasing water losses during battery operation. Based on these results, another project was initiated with the aim to make savings in active material without incurring any reduction in battery performance. It was found that the most important parameters are the porosity of the active material and its weight balance between the positive and negative plates. The first two industrial trials, carried out with a reputable European battery producer, gave some remarkable results. For instance, battery performance is enhanced even if the content of lead is reduced by 8–10%. Results from 50% DoD and 17.5% DoD tests are even showing slight improvements. Good performance in terms of charge-acceptance and water consumption is also being realized when tested according to EN 50342 part 6.
Technical Head of Battery Additives
Since 1999, Ian Klein has worked for PENOX as the Laboratory and Quality Manager. From 2012 he also assumed the position of Technical Head of the Battery Additive Department. Ian has also been involved in most of the material related R&D activities of PENOX and is responsible for providing technical support to lead–acid battery producers.