September 9, 2022: The first European Lead Battery Conference since Vienna’s meeting in 2018 kicked off with a bang in Lyon on September 7, as ILA managing director started the ceremonies with a rousing address on the future of the lead battery business.
Bush was followed by East Penn CEO Chris Pruitt, whose presentation detailed, with a sober analysis, that the lithium pathway to world dominance was not as clear-cut as many suggested.
In further analysis of the future lead market, Avicenne painted a slightly more sombre picture which was modified by a detailed analysis by Neil Hawkes from CRU — as well as a highly informative presentation from the International Lead and Zinc Study Group on Chinese government policy on the use of lead in batteries in the country.
There were three other standout presentations to the first morning’s meetings. There was one landmark moment with the announcement of the WGBI — Women in the Global Battery Industry, with Mac Engineering’s Julie McClure, WGBI’s president, detailing the creation of the group and relating, for the first time to a European audience, the importance of its function.
A reception was held later in the afternoon, giving the group room to socialise and network.
The next landmark moment came when CBI director Alistair Davidson revealed details of three lead projects it had won and been funded — two in Africa (as detailed a separate BESB report) and one $3.5 million microgrid with the US military in Missouri.
Industry observers told BESB this had been a clear vindication of the strategic vision Bush had several years ago, when he repurposed the then ALABC offshoot into the Consortium for Battery Innovation, an organization that came into being just four years ago at the Vienna meeting.
“We needed to go beyond running a technical research body into one that could find a commercial expression,” Bush told BESB’s special conference publication, The Battery Street Journal, on the sidelines of ELBC.
Certainly for a start-up to have come from nowhere to finding commercial funding and being able to prove its worth in a tangible way is a remarkable achievement. The CBI continues to grow and has some 120 members across the whole battery value chain.