NEW CASTLE, Lawrence County --- Axion Power International Inc.'s new patented lead-carbon (PbC) advanced batteries and energy storage products --- the first major breakthrough in battery technology in more than 30 years --- continues to draw praise for its innovation and potential to expand the markets for hybrid vehicles and alternative energy systems, such as those fueled by wind or solar power.
U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire (PA-4), who represents Lawrence County and the surrounding region in Congress, today visited Axion's new base for the design, manufacture and sale of its lead-carbon devices. Congressman Altmire is working to establish a high-tech and advanced-energy corridor in this part of Pennsylvania, and cited Axion's progress as an example of the region's potential.
"I am pleased to have the opportunity to tour Axion," Congressman Altmire said. "Axion is leading the way in green technologies and represents the future of industry in Lawrence County --- advanced research and manufacturing."
Congressman Altmire is the latest among a string of business representatives, local officials and government leaders at every level to visit Axion Power since the industry trail blazer relocated from Toronto, Canada, earlier this year. Axion chose Pennsylvania, and more specifically labor-talented Lawrence County, over several other vying states.
Governor Edward G. Rendell, along with officials from the state departments of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Community and Economic Development (DCED), cut the ribbon in April to mark the official opening of the company's new 70,000-square-foot research and development center and manufacturing facility. Governor Rendell awarded Axion Power $1.2 million in state aid to help fund job training, product testing and automated production equipment.
The company already has 23 employees, with plans to create at least 90 high-paying jobs overall in research, development, design and production at the Lawrence County plant. The facility is fully permitted to manufacture 3,000 batteries a day.
"Congressman Altmire has been a real advocate for Axion and our innovative technology," Axion Chief Executive Officer Thomas Granville said. "He fully understands the future economic benefits that this region will enjoy as we move forward to full-scale production to meet global demand for advanced energy storage devices."
Axion's new lead�carbon technology represents a major advance in lead-acid battery technology. A few of the product advantages are: less lead; higher power delivery rates; faster recharge rates; and longer life cycles than those achieved from current conventional lead acid batteries.
A standard lead-acid battery takes up to eight hours to be fully charged, while the lead-carbon battery can be charged in 20 percent of that time. Axion's lab prototypes have withstood more than 1,000 cycle charges and deep discharge cycles. In comparison, most lead-acid batteries can only survive 300 to 500 deep discharge cycles.
Axion began small-scale production of niche market lead-acid batteries, including 16-volt racecar and various collector car batteries, in May 2006 after making some minor site modifications and equipment upgrades at the former New Castle Battery Co. Axion produced its first batch of PbC batteries in January 2007 and immediately put them into test protocols.
More automated continuous-run equipment will help to dramatically increase production of the proprietary carbon electrodes, which are an integral part of PbC batteries and currently are being produced by hand at the plant.
The lead-acid battery market is a $30 billion a year business.
Axion's PbC technology offers key performance advantages (both environmentally and economically) over conventional lead-acid batteries, which currently use negative electrodes made of sponge lead pasted on a lead grid current collector. Axion's PbC batteries use negative electrodes made of microporous activated carbon with a very high surface area. The result is a battery-supercapacitor hybrid that uses less lead and creates more power, while lasting longer and recharging faster, than conventional lead acid batteries.
The PbC technology is a "platform technology." Energy storage devices based on the technology can be configured to accommodate a wide range of energy storage and power delivery requirements by changing the number, geometry and arrangement of the electrodes.
Axion Power International Inc. is the industry leader in the field of lead-acid-carbon energy storage technologies. Axion is producing prototype PbC batteries in small quantities at its plant in New Castle and believes this new battery technology is the only class of advanced battery that can be assembled on existing lead-acid battery production lines throughout the world without significant changes to production equipment and fabrication processes. It also believes it will be able to manufacture carbon electrode assemblies in volume at low cost using standard automated production methods that are commonly used in other industries. If and when its electrode manufacturing methods are fully developed, Axion believes it will be able to sell carbon electrode assemblies as virtual plug-and-play replacements for lead-based negative electrodes used by all other lead-acid battery manufacturers. Axion's goal is to become the leading supplier of carbon electrode assemblies for the lead-acid battery industry. For more information, visit www.axionpower.com.
Axion Power International Inc