Axion Power announces two new applications for its PbC batteries


Axion Power, the lead carbon battery firm, has announced the deployment of its batteries in two remote locations in North America in November where low temperatures can play havoc with some battery chemistries.

In both cases, power is generated by solar panels and then stored in the batteries for use when the sun goes down.

The first application is for tower lighting systems, beacons that must stay lit on top of any structure higher than 200 feet under regulations by the US Federal Aviation Administration.

The beacons only require low voltage, but in remote locations utility power is sometimes not available at all, hence the need for an off-grid battery back-up supply.

After three months’ testing by Mountain View Solar in Berkeley Spring, Virginia, Axion’s batteries have been installed on power lines in the region. There is a huge potential for further installations given the number of tall structures.

“Many systems currently use lead acid but they are failing because the beacon has to stay on at the expense of the battery,” said Jack Shindle, vice president of engineering at Axion Power. “In the winter the batteries are going to run very low on voltage because of the cold weather and low light.”

“Testing included a discharge to levels that would have destroyed normal AGM or GEL batteries,” said mtvSolar solar energy system specialist Cevyn Miles-Monaghan. “That said, we feel confident in deploying this technology.”

Axion Power claims its batteries have a life of at least eight years.

The second project involves supplying back-up power to a water pumping and filtration system designed by RAR Engineering, which is based in Pennsylvania.

The batteries have been deployed at a site in New Castle, where they support a ground water remediation system that pumps contaminated water away from land at a decommissioned gas station.

“The ability to operate a cost effective off grid remediation system was the goal of this project. With the help of the professionals at Axion, the system went from a concept to a functioning system within a few months,” said Kyle Griffith, a geologist at RAR Engineering.

“Some of these old sites are being shut down under US Environmental Protection Agency requirements,” said Shindle. “We are proving that the system works at one site with the idea of moving to other sites.

“The big take-away that I want people to have about this system is that it can be used in all sorts of applications in a very similar way. It’s an off-grid battery system with a solar panel and charge control that can be used 24 hours a day and overnight, it can be cycled every day and will last for eight to 10 years without deterioration from very low temperatures.”

Shindle said the firm would look to the oil and gas industry for future applications for the batteries.

Navigant Research, the market analysis firm, predicts that total global revenue from off-grid remote power systems will reach $1.5 billion a year by 2020.