Lead acid’s telecom battery market share predicted to remain strong
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Lead acid’s telecom battery market share predicted to remain strong

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Demand for lithium-ion batteries is increasing rapidly but lead acid remains comparatively better suited to telecom site demands

Demand for batteries is skyrocketing worldwide. Stationary storage requirements for grid-scale renewables and exponential growth in electric vehicle adoption is driving record investment in battery technology. Despite telecom’s long-term reliance on battery back-up and hybrid power solutions the overall demand in the sector is but a fraction of the global storage energy supply. Lithium solutions have seen increased usage in telecoms but lead acid remains more wide spread, as other demands for lithium expand we expect to see lead acid remain an important solution for telecoms. TowerXchange sites down with Eternity Technologies’ Thierry Tardivent to discuss the continuing importance of lead acid batteries. 

TowerXchange: Please introduce your company – where do you fit in the telecoms infrastructure ecosystem?

Thierry Tardivent, EVP Sales & Marketing, Eternity Technologies

Eternity Technologies is one of the fastest growing industrial battery companies. Founded in 2011 in United Arab Emirates with two factories we now have operations in Germany, Spain, Chile, South Africa and the USA. We serve both the Motive and Reserve Power markets, and we have seen very strong growth on VRLA Batteries for standby application where we have supplied many large projects in Africa including telecom solar sites. We now have the largest 2V solar battery range in the market and we will be launching new 2V and 12V Carbon Nano Batteries to serve even more demanding application with fast charge, PSOC and high temperature capabilities.

TowerXchange: Are lithium-ion batteries a victim of their own success?

Thierry Tardivent, EVP Sales & Marketing, Eternity Technologies

Yes probably and as a result of that last year we started to see significant cost increases for lithium carbonate and lithium cells while lead has been able to maintain a very competitive price level (Lead LME price for Sept 22 is below US$1900 per ton which is 20% down vs last year’s level). Also as with every other technology lithium also has some disadvantages and lead acid batteries shall remain by far the dominant technology in telecoms globally, with an expected growth from 14 GWH in 2020 to 20GWH in 2030, according to EUROBAT.

TowerXchange: Which energy storage chemistry is the optimal choice for different cell site scenarios? In what typical scenarios will your solution perform best relative to alternatives?

Thierry Tardivent, EVP Sales & Marketing, Eternity Technologies

Whatever people like to think there is no single technology that fits all circumstances. Even among lead acid you will find different chemistry (Lead calcium, Tubular OPZV/S, TPPL, GEL et cetera) that could be a better choice depending how you are using them and in which conditions. But technology is not the only factor for selecting a battery specially in Africa. Availability, logistics, ease of installation, maintenance, repair/replacement and end of life management are all also very important factors to consider.

TowerXchange: How proven is your solution in the field? Please tell us about the performance of your solution in the field – who is using it and what results have been achieved?

Thierry Tardivent, EVP Sales & Marketing, Eternity Technologies

VRLA Batteries such like OPZV and OPZS  have been in used for Telecom Off grid site for decades and are proven to be one of the most robust technology in the most challenging environment .The fact we are now bringing innovation into those proven technology such as Carbon nano or Thin Tubes will make those product even more competitive and still easy to deploy , operate and recycle.

TowerXchange: It seems like supply chain woes have impacted every sector – how can Eternity Technologies promise to deliver storage quickly and efficiently?

Thierry Tardivent, EVP Sales & Marketing, Eternity Technologies

The transition to Electrical Vehicles (EV) will have a huge impact in demand and available capacity in the coming years for lithium batteries. For this reason we will continue to develop a new generation of Lead Acid Batteries and increase our global production capacity with local or regional sourcing. Our goal is to maintain the best lead time and flexibility in the industry which we believe telecom customers would always need.

TowerXchange: What is the re-cycling and disposal regime for your solutions?

Thierry Tardivent, EVP Sales & Marketing, Eternity Technologies

Unlike Lithium, all major components of a lead battery—lead, plastic, and electrolyte—can be recycled and reused to make new batteries. Lead acid batteries are among the products with the highest recycling efficiency. Recycling processes for lead acid batteries are well established and recycling plants well distributed thus our customer would usually get some benefit disposing their batteries. Recycling lithium is not yet mature.

TowerXchange: Please sum up how you would differentiate your solution from your competitors’?

Thierry Tardivent, EVP Sales & Marketing, Eternity Technologies

Building a new company from scratch under leadership of very experienced people such as our CEO Dr Mark Stevenson has given us the possibility to take the best attributes of each competitor. We are not trying to reinvent the wheel here…just trying to make the most reliable batteries, at the best cost with the best availability using technology that truly offer a sustainable circular economy. We are also a medium-sized family-owned company which allow us to make decisions fast and to have strong customer care.

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