Power, Protection and Convenience
Thanks to lead’s many useful properties, including its high recycling rate, the metal will play a growing role in solving the world’s future energy challenges. Doe Run anticipates increased demand for lead-based batteries to power vehicles, renewable energy sources and telecommunications.
Powering Vehicles Through Lead-Acid Batteries
- Lead-based batteries help answer the demand for environmentally friendly transportation and power. Approximately 90 percent of the lead Doe Run produces ends up in lead-acid batteries, and because these batteries are one of the most recycled products in America, lead is an ideal sustainable energy source.
- Lead-acid batteries also dominate the market for smaller, fully electric vehicles and micro-hybrids. This demand will only increase. In fact, Lux Research reports that micro-hybrids will grow nearly eight-fold to 39 million vehicles by 2017, creating a $6.9 billion market for energy storage devices, like lead-acid batteries.
- Auto manufacturers utilize nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) and lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries for some hybrid vehicles, but these options are much more costly than lead-acid batteries and do not presently have the recycling rates of lead-acid batteries. The Advanced Lead-Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC), of which Doe Run is a founding member, is testing advanced lead-acid and lead-carbon battery-powered systems to meet the needs of auto manufacturers at a lower cost than NiMH and Li-ion batteries.
- Governments and utility companies continue to invest in solar and wind power. This energy can be stored in lead-acid batteries and released into the power grid to balance energy load leveling. These renewable power sources may help reduce the need for coal-fired energy and diversify the energy mix. Lead-based batteries also provide backup power for a variety of mission critical systems.
Other Uses for Lead
- Because of its unique properties, lead will continue to be used to weatherproof roofs, soundproof rooms and buildings, shield from X-ray radiation, and transport and store nuclear power.