May 19, 2023: Lead batteries are “giants hiding in plain sight” and more than capable of boosting US national and energy security needs, Hammond Group chief Terry Murphy has told a Capitol Hill briefing.
The Hammond president and CEO (pictured) told the May 10 event, organized by Battery Council International, that the unintentional consequences of expanding the use of lithium ion systems in EVs and energy storage had not been fully thought through.
In terms of EVs, they can be “hugely destabilizing” to the grid in terms of their demand for instantaneous power, Murphy said.
“The challenges we’re putting on the grid by trying to go to a zero emissions economy is completely undermining national security and will cause more and more blackouts.”
On the need for an expansion of energy storage systems, Murphy said he regarded putting a lithium ion battery into a stationary application just as ludicrous as trying to put a lead battery into a cellphone.
“It should be horses for courses,” he said.
“One reason is the supply chain is just not there. We don’t own it and we are on a path of having true grid instability.”
Billions of dollars are being spent on lithium ion recycling — and should be because of the need to recover all sorts of valuable material.
However, Murphy contrasted the cost and difficulties of lithium recycling with that of lead, of which he said there is an inexhaustible supply that’s easily recovered”.
There is not a single lithium ion battery in use today that came from another lithium ion battery, he said.
Conversely, there’s not a lead battery today that did not come from another lead battery.
In the US, lead has a 99% recycling rate and offers infinite sustainability.
“Lead goes into the product it was recycling from. So when we talk about trillions of kilowatts of storage needs, we have to come up with systems that have infinite sustainability.”
Murphy said while lithium was a “great technology, we should probably have policies to save it before we exhaust all of the resources.”
Other key industry leaders who addressed the briefing were Pete Stanislawczyk, EVP and CCO of East Penn Manufacturing, Kimberly Medford, president of ENTEK International and Mark Matthews, senior VP of speciality global at EnerSys.
Pennsylvania congressman Daniel Meuser praised the industry leaders for their companies’ role in underpinning the national economy and energy security.
Meuser recently introduced proposed legislation that would eliminate taxes on lead oxide, antimony and sulfuric acid.
The USA Batteries Act would repeal the chemical tax implemented as part of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act.
BCI says this forces an essential American industry to pay higher costs for key raw materials used to manufacture lead batteries — a tax that is not levied on imported batteries.US battery industry leaders have been praised for their companies’ role in underpinning the national economy and energy security.
A must-hear recording of the Capitol Hill briefing is on BCI’s website.