COVID-19 has disrupted – if not completely halted – our lives in profound ways. While some of us can work from home, countless others are heroically staying on their jobs to ensure critical safety, connectivity and transportation services continue.
This includes facility workers in the lead battery manufacturing and recycling industry.
The federal government declared that the products and services provided by our industry are essential and that such industries can and should continue to operate, even as other non-essential businesses reduce their operating hours or temporarily shut down. Under the guidance set out by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, a part of the Department of Homeland Security, lead batteries are deemed essential to the following sectors: energy, transportation and logistics, communications and information, and critical manufacturing.
You may be surprised to learn that lead batteries have an important role in so many aspects of our economy.
Connecting Our World
As many people transition to home-based offices, lead batteries safeguard the vital telecommunications and data systems that keep us connected.
Lead is one of the dominant battery chemistries used to support a U.S. communications infrastructure worth more than $1 trillion. In fact, internet users generate about 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day (equal to the number of ants on Earth multiplied by 100). The telecom industry uses lead batteries for nearly 90% of the backup power required for our mobile connections. When the power goes out, lead batteries ensure the internet stays on.
Additionally, lead battery energy storage systems moderate the variability of electric grids to keep online communication consistently accessible. The New York Stock Exchange, Google and other major entities rely on lead battery backup power to safeguard massive online data repositories.
Protecting Our Lives
Remarkably, lead batteries provide over 70% of the world’s rechargeable energy storage needs. That means lead batteries support the backup recovery systems that protect lives and critical data in times of crisis.
In hospitals worldwide, lead batteries save lives by providing emergency power for lifesaving equipment during temporary power outages. Lead batteries also provide critical backup power for 911 call centers, emergency response teams and emergency lighting, as well as powering helicopters and other lifesaving emergency vehicles, like ambulances. The U.S. military relies on lead batteries to help keep our troops safe by powering vehicles used for bomb detection and disposal.
Transporting Our Economy
Lead batteries reliably power the transportation and logistics networks that move the people and materials that fuel our economy. Prior to the current crisis, lead batteries helped to safely transport Americans via public transportation 34 million times each weekday.
Plus, every U.S. mass-produced car and truck (over 275 million), including nearly every electric vehicle and approximately 60% of all forklifts, contains and relies on lead batteries. The global automotive industry produces more than 85 million new vehicles annually. On average, each vehicle will use three to four lead batteries over its lifespan. And, the lead battery industry itself provides thousands of green-economy jobs.
Powering Our Energy Future
Lead batteries are an established, economical and primarily domestically sourced battery technology. They can meet our growing energy storage needs today – and tomorrow, via an industry that is uniquely poised to scale up for future demands.
The U.S. lead battery industry has a robust, coast-to-coast network for efficient manufacturing, collection, recycling and reuse. The industry is a model of circular economic success for other battery chemistries and industries. Lead batteries are highly cost effective, too. They provide superior cost-benefit value in comparison to other energy storage chemistries. The lead battery industry’s firm foundation in the marketplace equips it for the responsiveness and scalability needed to meet our country’s renewable energy storage needs, as well.
To all those working on site – including members of our industry – to ensure essential services continue, we say “Thank you!” We’re extremely proud of you and that lead batteries are providing an irreplaceable link to connect, protect, transport and power life, even during a crisis like COVID-19.
Please check back next week for details on how our workers are staying safe in these challenging times.