Anti-stratification technology for flooded batteries goes on sale in Europe

German battery technology company iQ Power Licensing says battery products with its 360° passive mixing technology for flooded batteries went on sale in Europe for the first time in July after being introduced to the US market and some other countries previously.

The anti-stratification technology, which has — as well as others — been licensed to Canadian firm Discover Battery, who build the device into their ‘Mixtech’ branded car batteries which are manufactured in South Korea, is a plastic mixing device that combats the problem of acid stratification in batteries that leads to early corrosion and battery performance loss. Using the device more than doubles the life cycle of a flooded battery.

The mixing technology is not completely new: other electrolyte mixing systems have been around since around 2011 but they only partially mix the electrolyte, whereas the patented iQ Power technology performs an entire 360° circulation, says Bernhard Rose, a representative for iQ Power.

“This passive working device is very simple, with no moving parts. It just uses the driving dynamics of the vehicle to achieve the mixing results, by using hydrostatic pressure differences from driving movements in the battery chambers,” says Rose.

The mixing elements consist of simple polypropylene plastic parts and require no changes to the battery box and chamber design for mounting as the parts are universal and fit into all standard battery containers (DIN, JIS, BCI).

The specific shape of the parts utilizes the acceleration forces of the driving dynamics of the automobile (accelerating, braking, cornering) for its circular mixing function while driving. According to iQ Power Licensing, the system works highly efficiently and requires only one to three hours of normal city or urban driving for a full electrolyte circulation in the cell chambers, thus avoiding stratification and keeping the battery’s electrochemistry optimal.

“The functioning principle is that of a hydrostatic pump. The elements form a kind of upside-down L-shape with the thin vertical section adjacent to the battery casing wall. While the vertical section forms a thin tubular flat channel in the width of the battery cell, the upper horizontal part forms a small container capable of taking a certain volume of electrolyte but also has openings at its bottom for a 360° flow circulation.

Some 30 years ago, acid stratification didn’t harm flooded batteries so much because the batteries weren’t being charged and discharged so heavily — and cars didn’t have all the electronic devices using them. AGM batteries eliminated this problem but they are much more expensive and heat sensitive. OEMs looked for alternatives and this is when the enhanced flooded battery was developed to be used also for stop-start applications.

“At the moment the Mixtech technology is more focused on the aftermarket than the OEM market. The OEM market is a tough one to get into: OEMs are very conservative,” said Rose.

“However, with the new 360° mixing technology already been accepted by an OEM, which has used the iQ Power mixing device in EFB batteries for stop-start since January this year, the first step into the OEM market he been made.

In April, iQ Power was handed the equivalent of an environmental Oscar, known as the GreenTec Award, by the German Association of the Automotive Industry for the passive mixing technology. The company has also received the Automechanika Innovation Award in earlier years.