30 August, 2018: An electrolyte developed by the battery firm Tydrolyte that could potentially replace the sulfuric acid in lead acid batteries will be demonstrated at next week’s European Lead Battery Conference, which runs from September 4-7 in Vienna.
The CEO of the US company, Paul Bundschuh, says its electrolyte already has several patents pending.
“Fundamentally what we have is a new acid chemistry,” Bundschuh told Batteries International. “Our chemistry has the same negative sulfate so the core reactions are the same as with sulfuric acid. But our positive ion structure is completely different than what’s in sulfuric acid.
“Sulfuric acid gives the needed conductivity but it’s also responsible for the corrosion and toxicity. We improve all those metrics with our material.”
Bundschuh claims the electrolyte is so harmless that it could be used to wash hands, or even be drunk.
Bundschuh would not give specific details of the electrolyte but said he would demonstrate it at 16ELBC.
“One of the big benefits in addition to improvements in things like water loss and corrosion, as well as charge acceptance and charge resistance, is its lack of toxicity. We believe that once it’s finished being tested, this will be considered non-toxic.”
Bundschuh says the electrolyte is more expensive than sulfuric acid, but because of the performance benefits and cost reductions in getting rid of regulatory burdens — where lead acid batteries require special shipping requirements, for example, or liability in case of spillage — the additional costs would disappear.
“It’s an opportunity to potentially eliminate the use of millions of gallons of sulfuric acid,” he said.
Bundschuh says work has been going on behind the scenes with the ALABC, other organizations and customers to carry out accelerated life testing and other trials, including with the testing company Electric Applications Inc.