Approved: April 2011
It is the position of NSPE that batteries are increasingly important to America's energy program. The U.S. must continue to improve the operating life of batteries and to reduce their cost further.
Lead-acid batteries have been used in both stationary applications and vehicles for many years. In electric utilities, they have provided load-leveling and frequency regulation. In manufacturing plants, they have provided backup power. Lead-acid batteries continue to provide low-cost power for vehicles.
Recent advances in battery technology have led to increasing usage of lithium-ion batteries, which have more energy-per-unit weight than lead-acid batteries. For this reason, the latest generations of hybrid and electric vehicles rely on lithium-ion batteries. More research is needed, however, to improve the power density, extend the useful life, and reduce the cost of this type of battery. Such research includes developing and testing new materials for cathodes, anodes, and electrolytes for lithium-ion batteries.
Comprehensive research and rigorous testing of battery systems must continue, including exploring new configurations for utilities, transportation, and electronic devices. Battery-technology research is needed to improve power density, increase battery life, and reduce costs.
NSPE recommends funding research and development of battery technologies at the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, the Department of Transportation, and the National Science Foundation.