Blog | April 22, 2024

BCI Chair Applauds Innovative Spirit of Battery Industry

BCI Chair Chris Pruitt 2024 Opening Remarks

Shared values from the organizations first 100 years will lead it to a bright future, Pruitt says

Battery Council International’s Chris Pruitt honored the rich history of the industry and looked ahead with optimism to new opportunities in his opening remarks at the 2024 BCI Convention + Power Mart Expo.

Pruitt, President and CEO of East Penn Manufacturing and current chairman of the Battery Council International Board of Directors, noted that this year’s annual convention presents a unique opportunity for perspective as it falls just after BCI formally celebrated its 100th anniversary.

“As BCI marks 100 years as a trade association, we have a unique opportunity to reflect on the past successes of the collaborative efforts of our members – and perhaps more importantly, look to the future,” Pruitt said.

The organization has evolved in important ways since its founding on March 21, 1924, when it was known as the National Battery Manufacturers Association. But the core values of the industry remain the same, Pruitt said.

“Those who came before us have provided us with many important lessons –lessons that teach us that we need to keep moving forward as we still face many challenges in the future,” he said.

That includes the changing landscape of battery chemistries and product types, with the industry working on new energy storage solutions for data center and telecommunication backup batteries, auxiliary batteries for electric vehicles, forklift batteries that support global supply chains, and microgrid energy storage systems that are connected to wind and solar farms.

“Some of these markets did not exist 100 years ago,” Pruitt said. “In fact, some of them were not significant business lines even 10 years ago. But they are part of the industry today and will be an important part of our future.”

This spirit of innovation is what will drive the industry forward, he continued, noting that many of BCI’s members are also diversifying into other chemistries including flow, lithium-ion, sodium-ion, and other emerging battery chemistries.

He also noted the important partnership between the battery industry and research institutions including Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and Argonne, Oak Ridge, Pacific Northwest, and Sandia National Laboratories – five organizations that were all in attendance at this year’s BCI Convention.

Chris Pruitt, applauds innovative battery industry
Chris Pruitt, President and CEO of East Penn Manufacturing and current Chairman of the Battery Council International Board of Directors, delivered the opening remarks at the 2024 BCI Convention + Power Mart Expo.

The battery industry’s next century

In closing, this focus on the future is critical to the success of the battery industry but must not come at the cost of its current strength.

“The economics of battery manufacturing must work and withstand the test of time as our industry has,” he said. Pruitt added that the U.S. battery industry currently contributes $8.1 trillion in downstream economic impact and is connected to 48 million jobs in total.

And beyond the dollars and cents, the energy storage industry also has proven itself to be a force for good in many communities across the nation.

“We support local businesses and local charities. We protect the environment, making sure that we continue to be good neighbors in our community making products that are recyclable and sustainable,” he said. “In the past we have worked together as an industry organization, setting standards, and always striving to do what is right.”

These values of responsible collaboration and innovation will lead the battery industry into the next century.

“Our industry has a history of rolling with the punches, adapting to a changing global economy and regulatory environment,” Pruitt said. “And I’m confident we will continue this tradition going forward.”

“The economics of battery manufacturing must work and withstand the test of time as our industry has,” he said. Pruitt added that the U.S. battery industry currently contributes $8.1 trillion in downstream economic impact and is connected to 48 million jobs in total.

And beyond the dollars and cents, the energy storage industry also has proven itself to be a force for good in many communities across the nation.

US battery Industry $8.1 trillion economic output

“We support local businesses and local charities. We protect the environment, making sure that we continue to be good neighbors in our community making products that are recyclable and sustainable,” he said. “In the past we have worked together as an industry organization, setting standards, and always striving to do what is right.”

These values of responsible collaboration and innovation will lead the battery industry into the next century.

“Our industry has a history of rolling with the punches, adapting to a changing global economy and regulatory environment,” Pruitt said. “And I’m confident we will continue this tradition going forward.”

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Dr. John Uhrie, Doe Run

With improved cooperation among stakeholders, increased research funding, and by following the circular economy example of lead batteries, the U.S. can regain domestic supply chain security and advance a low-carbon and renewable energy future.

Dr. John Uhrie, Vice President of Exploration, Research and Technical Development, The Doe Run Company