RBC Executive Director Pat Hayes was in Berlin June 29-30 as a keynote speaker at the International Lead Association’s 20th International Lead Conference titled, “Pb 2017.” Pat’s discussion focused on how the lead acid battery has become one of the most recycled and sustainably manufactured products available today. Additionally, the responsible nature of how the closed loop recycling system for the lead acid battery has created a platform for other energy storage solutions to strive for to be considered sustainable. Using tools developed by RBC partner, the Sustainability Consortium, Pat showed how the lifecycle of a lead acid battery can be assessed to determine its sustainability. This tool will be adapted to accommodate other energy storage solutions to ensure that the sustainability of future batteries can be properly assessed.
Also addressing the attendees was Linda Gaines, PhD, Transportation System Analyst at Argonne National Laboratory and member of the RBC Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Gaines gave a thorough comparison of lead-acid batteries to lithium-ion. In her discussion, she examined the challenges of replacing lead with lithium-ion in the context of the lifecycle of a transportation application. Dr. Gaines also discussed some of the lifecycle assessment efforts underway at Argonne Laboratory to better understand the lifecycles of future battery chemistries.
The International Lead Conference is a biennial event that brings together lead industry stakeholders to discuss and exchange ideas about continuing the sustainable use of lead as a viable energy storage solution. Attracting more than 150 audience members from over 30 countries, the two-day conference included presentations on how the lead industry is reducing its environmental impact, the future of lead in an increasingly competitive market, the role of lead in future energy storage technologies and the potential impact of possible changes in future global regulations might have on lead.