Secondary batteries date back to 1860 when Raymond Gaston Planté invented the lead acid battery. His cell used two thin lead plates separated by rubber sheets. About 1881, Faure and others developed batteries using a paste of lead oxides for the positive plate active materials.
Batteries are devices that translate chemical energy into electricity. Batteries are an efficient way to make electricity portable.
Batteries come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are small enough to fit on a computer circuit board while others are large enough to power a submarine. There are batteries that are used once and thrown away and there are batteries that are recharged and reused thousands of times. Some batteries are used several times every day while others may sit for ten or twenty years before they are ever used.
How do batteries play a role in our lives?
Without lead acid batteries virtually everything but muscle powered transportation would stop. Lead acid batteries either start or power cars, trucks, buses, trains, rapid rail systems, recreational vehicles and electric wheelchairs all over the globe. Lead acid batteries power electric forklift trucks used in warehouses factories, mines and ships. They also power the electric people movers in airports as well as wheelchairs and golf carts used on courses all over the world. On the road, lead acid batteries power electric law enforcement vehicles, buses, shuttles at amusement parks and mail carrier vans.
Were it not for lead acid batteries we probably would have power outages every day because the electric utility companies could not handle rapid fluctuations in the demand for electricity. Thomas Edison¡¯s first central electric generating station built in New York City in 1882, suffered many mechanical failures from sudden fluctuations of the load on the generating machines. Lead acid batteries came to the rescue then, delivering large amounts of electricity for short periods of time. They are still used for the same purpose today by electric utilities all over the world.
When the electricity goes out, your telephones stay on. This is because every major telephone company in the world uses lead acid batteries as backup power to keep telephones systems working during storms, earthquakes and power. The same batteries also backup mobile phone and two way radio systems.
During power outages, lead acid batteries provide quiet, pollution-free emergency power for critical operations in facilities such as air traffic control towers, hospitals, railroad crossings, military installations, submarines and weapons systems. In environmentally sensitive manufacturing operations, lead acid batteries keep the pollution control system operating during blackouts and brownouts until the plant can be shut down.
Lead acid batteries power cable TV systems, marine buoys and lighthouses. In remote locations they power railroad crossing signals and instruments that measure seismic disturbances for earthquake research and they store electricity generated by solar panels or windmills.