New Castle, Pa., May 23, 2012 – Axion Power International Inc., the developer of advanced lead-carbon PbC batteries and energy storage systems, 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 currently utilize a start-stop system which automatically turns off the engine when the vehicle comes to rest and automatically restarts the engine when the brake is disengaged. Next generation micro-hybrid vehicles will include added features such as regenerative braking and some form of battery assist to the initial vehicle acceleration. The dual feature includes working with the alternator generator to start and power the vehicle while the engine is on and then separately, powering the vehicle's ancillary load when the engine is off. 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 translates into greater engine off time, resulting in better fuel economy with reduced Co2 emissions.
This grant, from the DOE Small Business Innovation Research program was for the maximum allocation under Phase I, but it is the first step in the DOE grant approval process that could lead to larger awards in future Phases of the program. The award of the grant for Phase I enables Axion to apply for Phase II awards. Successful completion of Phase II automatically qualifies an awardee to apply for additional DOE funding beyond the SBIR program. The Phase III funding provisions do not contain predetermined award limits.