A recent Research and Markets report predicts that lead batteries will see the highest growth out of all battery segments in the global aircraft industry, with a revenue of $560 million by 2030 – a jump from the $290 million recorded in 2020.
Lead batteries are still the most common type used in general aviation and are used for emergency power, auxiliary power and engine starting. They are also used in military and civil aircraft. The Boeing 777 has three lead batteries in each aircraft to provide a back-up power supply for the fly-by-wire avionics in an emergency.
Lead batteries are designed to be recycled at end-of-life with more than 90% of their material being recovered – exemplifying the fundamental principles of eco-design. The average lead battery made in the EU today contains more than 80% recycled materials, and almost all of the lead recovered in the recycling process is used to make new lead batteries.
Additionally, recycled lead has a high intrinsic value and is infinitely recyclable. In the EU, air transport has seen progressive growth with air freight and mail transport becoming key sub-sectors. With this huge carriage of people and goods, the aircraft industry has a vital role in supporting Europe’s economic growth, while keeping Europeans moving safely.
All existing aircraft systems use electronics soldered with lead alloys and therefore must be repaired using these same lead alloys. Aviation systems are built and maintained by industrial personnel, ensuring that the general public has no exposure to these solder joints.
To date, no other material provides the proven safety and reliability of tin lead alloy solder. The electronics industry consumes just 0.5% of the world’s lead and the aerospace sector is a relatively small user of electronics. That means a very small amount of lead plays a significantly large role in keeping aircraft safe.
Read more on the European battery company set to create the world’s largest lead motive battery manufacturing unit.