NEW CASTLE, Pa., May 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Axion Power International Inc (OTC Bulletin Board: AXPW), the developer of advanced lead-carbon PbC® batteries and energy storage systems, announced today that it has been awarded a $150,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to fund a commercialization plan for the use of its PbC batteries in a "low-cost, high-efficiency" dual battery architecture for micro-hybrid vehicles.
Micro-hybrid vehicles, which are well on their way to becoming the most common type of automotive vehicle (estimated market size is 25 million by 2016), currently utilize a "start-stop" system which automatically turns off the engine when the vehicle comes to rest, and then automatically restarts the engine when the brake is disengaged. Next generation micro-hybrid vehicles will, and in some cases already do, include added features such as regenerative braking, "sailing" (i.e. turning the engine off as the vehicle slows or coasts below a pre-determined speed) and perhaps some form of battery assist to the initial vehicle acceleration. The lead-acid battery [LAB] is not designed to suitably provide the dual function required in today's micro-hybrid vehicles, let alone handle the added loads of future micro-hybrid vehicles. The dual feature includes working with the alternator generator to start and power the vehicle while the engine is on (LAB is good at this), and then separately, powering the vehicle's ancillary load when the engine is off (LAB is very poor at this). The LAB's shortcomings with respect to powering the ancillary load are directly attributable to the battery's rapid decline in charge acceptance over time due to sulfation. This occurs in the LAB after just a few months of usage. The PbC battery, on the other hand, has been proven to quickly accept full system charge (i.e. no loss of charge acceptance) for more than 5 years of usage. This advantage translates into much greater "engine off" time resulting in much greater fuel economy with significantly reduced Co2 emissions. Both of these features are important goals of automotive OEM's and of political leaders in the countries where they manufacture vehicles.