This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

October 23, 2002

Sodium Sulfur and Lithium-Metal-Polymer Batteries Show Commercial Promise

Two advanced battery technologies-sodium sulfur and lithium-metal-polymer (LMP) batteries-have been in the news recently, indicating that these technologies are making strides commercially.

American Electric Power (AEP) dedicated a sodium sulfur battery system at its suburban office park near Columbus, Ohio, in late September. Sodium sulfur batteries have the advantage of providing very high power outputs for short durations. For instance, the AEP battery system is rated to provide 100 kilowatts of power for about seven hours, but up to 500 kilowatts of power for short durations. AEP claims the system to be the first of its kind in the United States. DOE's Sandia National Laboratories was one of many partners in the project, which will be used to reduce peak power loads and guarantee high-quality power at the office park. See the AEP press release.

For LMP batteries, a Canadian company called AVESTOR is taking the lead: the company announced in mid-September that it was starting production of the world's first commercial LMP battery at its new plant in Boucherville, Quebec. According to the company, LMP batteries are one-third the size and one-fifth the weight of traditional valve-regulated lead-acid batteries. Although the company's initial product is designed to provide power backup for telecommunications relays, the batteries could also be used in hybrid electric and fully electric vehicles, as well as in utility applications similar to the AEP installation. See the AVESTOR press release.

But don't write off lead-acid batteries just yet: GNB Industrial Power, part of Exide Technologies, announced on October 11th that it will collaborate with DOE's Sandia National Laboratories to analyze the performance of valve-regulated lead-acid batteries in large battery energy storage systems. The company claims that lead-acid batteries are still the preferred technology for such energy storage systems. See the Exide Technologies press release.