Behind The Rising Cost of Lead-Acid Batteries

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...The cost of sulfuric acid has risen over 60 percent in the past 12 months. While commonly used in the industrial sector, sulfuric acid is also important in the agricultural sector. The fertilizer industry accounted for more than 60 percent of total global consumption in 2020. The U.S. is the second-largest producer of sulfur, generating approximately 8.1 million metric tons annually. In “normal” times, there is plenty for both industries. Today, sulfuric acid is heavily in demand and harder to come by...

...Costs of metals have also increased significantly and impacted battery prices. In lead batteries, tin and antimony are commonly used for mechanical strength and to improve electrical properties........Lead is also in short supply, even though lead batteries are one of the most recycled consumer products. The shortage is primarily due to a deficit between recycling facility capacities and overall demand. U.S. battery manufacturers source about 73 percent of the needed lead from domestic lead battery recycling...

... Polypropylene is the second-most widely produced commodity plastic, used in manufacturing automotive components, packaging and labeling, medical devices, construction, and more. The lead battery industry utilizes poly resin in the casing and covers for automotive batteries. A number of factors have led to supply shortages of poly. As a petroleum-based product, supply is dependent on the oil industry. Shortages are primarily due to how that industry allocates resources...

...There are also higher non-material costs that impact battery prices. Diesel fuel costs are up almost 75 percent from last year, resulting in higher freight expenses. Utilities are also higher, which impacts the facilities. Rates are up about 30 to 40 percent, and those costs are also being passed along. Labor costs are also a factor...

...Additionally, as part of the 2021 Infrastructure Bill, Congress reinstated the chemical excise tax, which went into effect July 1, 2022. The tax would apply to chemicals and substances that are used in countless consumer goods containing steel, plastic, and wood and would also apply to everyday consumer products including batteries...

...The lead battery industry in North America is a model of the circular economy. The emphasis on recycling and reusing raw materials as much as possible reduces our impact on the environment. This closed-loop system also contributes to a strong domestic supply chain. Over 90 percent of domestic lead battery demand is met by North American manufacturing....
 

Demand for refined lead metal is expected to increase by only 1.4% to 12.60 MT in 2023, the group said.

Meanwhile, world lead mine supply is set to remain “more or less unchanged” this year at 4.6 MT, but output is expected to rise in 2023 to 4.7 MT.
 
A good chunk of investments $$ are going to newer tech batteries than the older tech these days. That's not helping either.
 
Does anything get cheaper with time? I guess it's a good heads-up, anyone putting off buying a battery might do better to do now. Of course, unless if you buy it dry, you can't stock up when it's a good price, so, just another thing to shell out for.

A good chunk of investments $$ are going to newer tech batteries than the older tech these days. That's not helping either.
How do you figure? I'm not sure what advancements have been going on for flooded lead acid batteries for starting cars. I'm sure there is ongoing work for AGM's and other stuff, but, pure swag on my part, it's a pretty mature technology here. Whatever could be eeked out, for capacity or to make manufacturing cheaper, has had to have been done by now. *shrug*
 
Does anything get cheaper with time? I guess it's a good heads-up, anyone putting off buying a battery might do better to do now. Of course, unless if you buy it dry, you can't stock up when it's a good price, so, just another thing to shell out for.


How do you figure? I'm not sure what advancements have been going on for flooded lead acid batteries for starting cars. I'm sure there is ongoing work for AGM's and other stuff, but, pure swag on my part, it's a pretty mature technology here. Whatever could be eeked out, for capacity or to make manufacturing cheaper, has had to have been done by now. *shrug*
Yes, you're right that everything has been done when it comes to lead acid batteries. I mean that if more focus is going to other types of battery technology then manufacturing etc are going to be switching over funds (Resources) to concentrate/focus on those products (AGM, Lithium). Leaving some production capacity for the lead acid battery behind. This in turn causes lower supply. Of course the whole supply/demand/covid really screwed everything up. That being said I'm seeing indicators that inflation is coming down from their highs.
 
Take care of the ones you have-keep them charged & topped off with distilled water (if caps are removable), stay away from leaky JC/Clarios & Exide junk, they’ll last longer. Don’t be like my brother, who lets cars sit for months without charging or driving them & kills batteries regularly-I always make sure he buys the 3 year warranty ones…
 
There is still R&D going into lead acid batteries, being led by the Consortium for Battery Innovation.
 
Sure hope lead demand and price goes up, the company I work for is one of the largest lead mines in the US and even though I’m not part of the mining or milling process the low lead price has really cut into my departments budget
 
Interesting! apparently I am quite wrong in my assumption then, there is quite a bit of research going on, to eek out more from lead acid technology. Interesting stuff.

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Interesting! apparently I am quite wrong in my assumption then, there is quite a bit of research going on, to eek out more from lead acid technology. Interesting stuff.

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Good example you posted. Flooded around 65% of the market in 2019 will be only 48% of the market by 2030. While AGM's are growing more of the market share followed by EFB then LIB batteries. With investments going to AGM, over time, we can hope that the cost of an AGM will get cheap enough that an "Enhanced Flooded Battery" may not be worth the cost.

With Lithium flooding the market I've noticed AGM's getting cheaper & more common. I've seen this in my own observations while shopping for deep cycle rv batteries. The AGM's where darn near what a standard flooded marine battery was in the amperage range I needed so I opted for the AGM's over Flooded. I look at it kind of like the DVD-HD vs Blu-ray that duked it out & over time the Blu-ray won in market share. I doubt these "Enhanced Flooded Batteries" are really going to be all that much cheaper than an agm as time goes.
 
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