What Are Lead Acid Batteries? What’s In Them? What Are They Made Of?

 

Lead acid batteries either start or power cars, trucks, buses, boats, trains, rapid mass-transit systems, recreational vehicles and electric wheelchairs all over the globe. The car battery also provides a stable electrical supply to a vehicle’s electrical system.

During power outages, lead acid batteries provide quiet, pollution-free emergency power for critical operations such as air-traffic control towers, hospitals, railroad crossings, military installations, submarines, and weapons systems. In these situations the telephones stay on and this is because every major telephone company in the world, including mobile telephone service providers, uses lead acid batteries as backup power to the telecommunications systems.

Were it not for standby lead acid batteries, we probably would have power outages nearly every day because the electric utilities would not be able to handle rapid fluctuations in the demand for electricity. This is when lead acid batteries come to the rescue, as enormous arrays of batteries delivering large amounts of electricity for short periods of time until additional capacity is added to the grid.

Lead acid batteries power electric fork trucks used in warehouses, factories, mines, and ships. They also power the shuttle vehicles in airports, as well as wheelchairs, amusement park shuttles and golf carts. On the road, lead acid batteries power electric law-enforcement vehicles, buses, and very soon mail delivery vans.

Lead-acid batteries are the environmental success story of our time. More than 97 percent of all battery lead is recycled. Compared to 55% of aluminium soft drink and beer cans, 45% of newspapers, 26% of glass bottles and 26% of tires, lead-acid batteries top the list of the most highly recycled consumer product.

The lead-acid battery gains its environmental edge from its closed-loop life cycle. The typical new lead-acid battery contains 60 to 80 percent recycled lead and plastic.

When a spent battery is collected, it is sent to a permitted recycler where, under strict environmental regulations, the lead and plastic are reclaimed and sent to a new battery manufacturer. The recycling cycle goes on indefinitely. That means the lead and plastic in the lead-acid battery in your car, truck, boat or motorcycle have been – and will continue to be — recycled many, many times. This makes lead-acid battery disposal extremely successful from both environmental and cost perspectives.