The lead-acid battery industry has been in existence for more than 150 years, but the ubiquitous technology is still displaying remarkable traction.
With a proven arrangement for reliable and low-cost energy storage, lead-acid battery plays an important role in our day-to-day life. The global lead-acid battery market size was valued at approximately $57.19 billion in 2017 and is forecasted to reach $107.59 billion by 2026, growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.3 per cent.
Growth in the lead-acid battery market is led by increasing industrialization and urbanization, rising inclination towards electric vehicles, coupled with technological advancements. The next wave of lead battery adoption could come from EVs, but it would mean auto manufacturers opting for lead charge batteries over lithium ion battery.
While lithium ion batteries have built a remarkable presence, lead-acid batteries are still decades ahead in terms of production costs, adoption and recycling - lead-acid batteries are 99 per cent recyclable - making them the biggest contender for EVs and renewable energy storage solutions.
Waldies, a specialty lead manufacturer, holds a bullish sentiment on lead acid battery market once EVs are ready for mass adoption.
Indian lead-acid battery market is projected to reach $7.6 billion by 2023, primarily driven by booming demand for automobiles, with an increasing regulatory focus towards boosting the penetration of electric vehicles in the country. Asia - particularly China and India, are the biggest markets of lead-acid batteries in the world. Furthermore, growing application of energy storage applications in industrial sectors is expected to provide a significant growth opportunity for lead-acid batteries in the near future.
"In so far as the market size in value is concerned, Lithium-ion has already overtaken by a bare-minimum in 2018. However, in terms of energy storage, 75 per cent of the market is still facilitated by Lead Acid Batteries. Electronic Vehicle charging stations will require huge cooperation from Lead Acid Batteries to economize its operations", said Deepak Ojha, Managing Director of Waldies Compound Ltd.
The recent budget announcement was bent towards EVs, which by default, demand economical and easily recyclable batteries; where lead acid batteries emerge as the winner.
In the words of Rahul Bajaj, MD, Bajaj Auto, Electric Vehicles face limited adoption, but are set to revolutionize the Indian automobile market; though they will not just put IC combustion engines away.
"Cost optimized energy storage installations will use lead as preferred battery storage systems", said Francisco Trinidad, Exide Europe, at the International Lead Conference, Spain.
With developments in the packaging of batteries and their construction, durability and storage capacities of lead-acid batteries have improved considerably, presenting opportunities in few other emerging sectors, particularly in renewable energy. Stationary lead-acid batteries are more efficient in storage of energy obtained from renewable sources like wind and solar and are more suitable installations in offshore and onshore platforms to store, supply and direct electric power as per the requirement.
"The industry must come together for a sustainable future of lead", said Andy Bush, Managing Director of International Lead Association.
"The problem is not the pollutant, but the irresponsible handling of it. Organizations like ours and Gravita are investing substantially to upgrade the current infrastructure for improvised material handling and recycling", added Deepak.
A lead-acid battery is comparatively cheaper to other battery types such as Ni-MH and Li-ion. Moreover, the highest recyclability percentage of any product, and thus likely to find more takers owing to their reduced cost of production.
Lead-acid batteries have been constantly derided for the amount of pollution they emit. There has been significant legislative pressure on the industry across the globe, especially in Europe. However major stakeholders of lead industry, lead acid batteries, metal recyclers, smelters and other manufacturers of lead products are focusing on reducing pollution through research and development initiatives for sustainable technologies.
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