Exide Technologies to collaborate with Sandia National Laboratories on lead-acid battery analysis

PRINCETON, N.J., Oct. 15, 2002 — GNB Industrial Power, the Network Power Business Group of Exide Technologies, has signed a collaborative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) (to be administered by Sandia National Laboratories) to analyze the performance of valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) batteries in large battery energy storage systems (BESS).

A BESS is a fully integrated electrical energy management system and uninterruptible power supply (UPS) incorporating lead-acid batteries. As an energy management system, it supplements and improves the quality of the electricity provided by a public utility; as a UPS, it maintains power to an installation during blackouts or brownouts while an orderly shutdown is conducted.

A BESS is considered to be the best available technology for providing these types of high voltage protection.

Exide Technologies is a provider of stored electrical energy solutions. Sandia is a government- owned/contractor operated research facility that develops science-based technologies to support national security.

GNB Industrial Power, which has had a long term relationship with Sandia in the energy and critical infrastructure category, will supply technical resources to conduct a detailed analysis of the performance of advanced, sealed lead-acid battery systems that have been operating in two different BESS systems.
The first installation is at the Exide Technologies lead-acid battery recycling facility outside Los Angeles; the second is in the remote, Native American island community of Metlakatla, Alaska. Both systems utilize GNB Absolyte batteries.

Each BESS comprises a fully integrated system consisting of an assembly of VRLA batteries, power conditioning converters, plant power systems interface, system controls and a battery monitoring system. The system operates automatically and can be controlled and monitored remotely.

“A battery energy storage system combines clean lead-acid batteries with the latest in electronic controls to produce a system that meets environmental and economic needs for the 21st century,” said Mitchell S. Bregman, president of the Exide Technologies Network Power Business Group.

At the Exide Technologies California battery recycling facility, the $4 million BESS, which was installed in 1996, serves primarily as a UPS. The facility reclaims the lead and plastic from spent lead-acid batteries for use in producing new lead-acid batteries. If the facility loses utility power in a blackout or brownout, the BESS instantly provides up to five megawatts of power to support critical operations, including environmental control equipment, until the plant can be shut down.

If necessary, the BESS can operate the entire plant for up to one hour. The system also serves as an energy management system, allowing the facility to take advantage of peak shaving (using batteries to provide electricity during peak cost periods) to cut utility bills. Exide was the first industrial manufacturer in the world to use a BESS of this size to support critical manufacturing equipment.

In Metlakatla, the BESS was installed in 1997. It conditions the hydroelectric current that powers a sawmill run by Native Americans in a rural island community. Before the BESS was installed, the sawmill operators used a diesel generator, hauling the fuel by boat across a long distance of choppy water.

The BESS, which uses clean, sealed recyclable lead-acid batteries, helps Metlakatla Power & Light manage the mill’s electrical loads for greater efficiency and energy savings, and protects the environment from potential oil spills and noise pollution. During the course of its operation, the BESS has saved close to 90 percent of the mill’s annual energy costs, and reduced the number of power outages in the community. The Metlakatla BESS earned a prestigious Energy 100 award from the U.S. Department of Energy, designating it as one of the best scientific and technological accomplishments of the 20th Century.

As part of this research project, GNB Industrial Power and Sandia will analyze the performance of the GNB Absolyte batteries at the heart of both of these installations.

“The world’s demand for electricity continues to increase, but today’s capacity for utility power generation already is strained and not being increased,” said Bregman. “The results of this study will help us continue to design improvements into new BESS installations to enhance their overall life and performance.”

About Exide Technologies:

Exide Technologies, with operations in 89 countries and fiscal 2002 net sales of approximately $2.4 billion, is one of the world’s largest producers and recyclers of lead-acid batteries. The company’s three global business groups – transportation, motive power and network power — provide a comprehensive range of stored electrical energy products and services for industrial and transportation applications.

Source: Exide Technologies

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