Lead acid batteries are a commonly used power storage mechanism in everyday life. From home appliances to cars to public transportation – lead acid batteries run systems that we depend on as we move through the day. In instances of power disruption, such as blackouts, lead acid batteries are often used to provide the necessary backup power for computers to a wide range of end users, from border security to hospital emergency lighting.
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Thus, due to the large-scale usage of lead acid batteries for everyday operations as well as in the form of a standby energy source in industrial manufacturing, transportation, communication networks, and human welfare, these are some of the areas that hold immense potential for the lead acid battery market. According to a market study targeted at Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, Japan, and Latin America, the lead acid battery market is expected to reach a valuation of US$31.7 bn by 2020, expanding at a CAGR of 4.60% from 2014 to 2020.
Structural and Functional Overview of Lead Acid Batteries
Structure-wise, lead acid batteries contain four main elements: a positive plate covered with a lead dioxide paste, a negative plate fabricated of sponge lead, a separator fabricated of insulating material that separates the two plates but enables ions and electrolyte to pass for conduction without physical contact between the plates, and an electrolyte that contains water and sulfuric acid.
For the electrical conduction mechanism in lead acid batteries, both lead and lead dioxide are suitable to be used as electrical conductors. It is due to the migration of aqueous ions (H+ and SO4-2), which are present in the electrolyte, that the conduction mechanism takes place.
Diverse Applicability of Lead Acid Batteries Increases Suitability for Large Applications
Lead acid batteries are extensively used for a large number of applications, however, it is their automotive applications that has aided the lead acid battery market to reach new heights. The widespread use of lead acid batteries is attributed to the following reasons – the use of relatively rudimentary technology enables easy manufacturing of these batteries that keeps the price low, and reliability and efficiency due to the utilization of well-established technology that offers a high current level.
Nevertheless, for automotive applications, lead acid batteries are ideally suited for several tasks, which include providing the current needed to start the vehicle. The precise high surge capability of these batteries helps their application in automotive design.
In Asia Pacific, the expanding demand for automobiles, especially in India and China, accounts for the 63.2% share of the regional market in the global market for lead acid batteries in 2014. In absolute numbers, the Asia Pacific lead acid battery market stood at close to US$15.3 bn in 2014 and is expected to be worth US$19.8 bn by 2020.
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Latin America and Japan accounted for 14.4% and 14.1%, respectively, of the global market for lead acid batteries in 2014, largely due to the large-scale automotive and industrial applications of lead acid batteries in these regions.