Advanced Battery Applications

Advanced batteries, such as lithium, have the potential to reduce operating cost and enhance operating capabilities of equipment currently using traditional lead-acid batteries. However, the high initial cost of a lithium battery pack presents a significant obstacle to adoption. To examine this initial cost obstacle, EAI personnel have evaluated the application of lithium batteries to airport ground support equipment with the idea of reducing the initial cost of lithium batteries by significantly reducing the size of the battery installed.

Two baggage tractors were deployed with a major airline. One tractor was fitted with a traditional lead-acid battery. Taking advantage of the greater power capability of lithium batteries, as well as their high charge acceptance, a second baggage tractor was fitted with a lithium battery pack one-half the capacity of the lead-acid battery. The baggage tractors were operated on the tarmac of a major airport and data collected to allow EAI to evaluate the operational performance of both battery packs. In this application, a lithium battery pack on-half the capacity of a traditional lead-acid battery pack, met all operational requirements allowing the initial cost of the lithium battery pack to be cut in half.