February 1, 2024: Terra Supreme Battery is set to launch production of its Group 31 battery — based on what it describes as a composite grid bipolar AGM lead acid chemistry — at its plant in the US, Batteries International has learned.
TSB co-founder, CEO and president Nick Busche told Batteries International on February 1 that around $33 million has been invested in setting up the Albion, Indiana advanced lead battery manufacturing project to date, with manufacturing set to start in May and full production beginning in September.
The company has not disclosed details of its bipolar technology, but said initial production capacity shall incrementally increase and double in 2026.
TSB said the facility, comprising five standalone buildings across a total 120,000 ft2, will deploy automation and robotics and meet the highest environmental responsibility standards.
The Group 31 batteries are the initial product offering — targeting sectors including trucking, local delivery, marine, railroad, renewable energy storage in both residential and utility scale, datacenter back-up power and military market segments.
Busche said TSB has already attracted a lot of interest from multiple industry sectors as the need for Group 31 batteries exceeds the global supply.
“Compared to current flooded and AGM technology, TSB’s composite grid bipolar technology has overcome the limitations and failure points to provide significantly improved power output, fast charging, greater depth of discharge and number of charge/discharge cycles comparable to lithium chemistries at a premium lead acid price point.”
Busche said the company believes there are enormous opportunities for its batteries in multiple vertical markets.
TSB has acquired equipment to manufacture batteries using technology that it claims replaces industry-standard cast-lead grids with a proprietary co-extruded lead-impregnated glass fiber woven into a square-mesh grid. This provides dimensional stability and solves several issues associated with lead acid battery failure, Busche said.
“The bipolar grids utilize proprietary nano-dimension, metal-free energy-storage materials that deliver up to 25% more capacity per gramme than conventional energy-storage materials.”
Some equipment was acquired from a former battery manufacturing plant in Oklahoma and reconfigured for production in Indiana.
New BCI member
According to Busche, proprietary arrangement of the bipolar plates in standard Battery Council International (BCI) package dimensions results in batteries delivering 2,000 charge discharge cycles at 80% depth of discharge with an industry leading cold cranking amp rating and a five-year warranty.
In applications limited to 60% DOD, TSB claims its tech delivers 4,000 cycles, approximately 11-year service life if charged and discharged once daily.
In partial state of charge, micro cycling applications centered at 50% SOC, the technology has been field tested and delivered over 15 million PSOC cycles with +/- 5% change in SOC per cycle.
TSB, which recently become the newest member of BCI, says its technology is priced as a premium lead acid battery while meeting lithium product performance specifications.
The company claims that, unlike lithium battery chemistries, its composite bipolar technology requires no temperature management to operate under extreme low-temperature conditions, is intrinsically safe, transportable by all shipping methods and recyclable.
TSB is entering the market against a backdrop of what the company says is a significant shortage of manufacturing capacity in the US.
Storage demands of clean tech and renewable power generation have put tremendous pressure on the existing manufacturing base which can no longer keep up, TSB says.
‘Next-gen manufacturing system’
Despite increasing focus on lithium ion chemistry BESS solutions, TSB says while lithium batteries can meet longevity requirements they exhibit several deficiencies in stationary and mobile applications, have “intrinsic safety issues” and are expensive.
An added expense incurred by lithium-based BESS units is the need for equipment to control battery temperature, while the batteries themselves present what TSB says are “challenging logistical issues in shipping and transportation”.
Busche says: “The most cost-effective solution for energy storage has always been lead acid batteries in either flooded or AGM packaging.
“The traditional objection to lead acid batteries has been the number of cycles delivered at 50% depth of discharge limited to 400, which is 1.1 years of useful life before replacement. However, lead acid batteries have always been attractively priced.”
The company’s CTO Benny Jay said: “Having managed development of the composite grid bipolar technology from its beginnings in the mid-1980s I am excited to be a part of the tremendously talented TSB team building the next generation manufacturing system.”
Jay said TSB representatives also planned to attend the upcoming BCI 100th anniversary convention in Florida in April.