Gaston Plante and Evolution of Lead Acid Battery

Gaston Plante and Evolution of Lead Acid Battery

Gaston Plante (1834–1889) was the French physicist who invented the lead–acid battery in 1859. The lead-acid battery eventually became the first rechargeable electric battery marketed for commercial use.

In 1859, he invented the lead-acid cell, the first rechargeable battery. His early model of the lead-acid battery consisted of two sheets of lead (used as electrodes), separated by cloth which is rolled into a spiral (used as separator), and immersed in a 10% sulphuric acid 90% water solution (used as electrolytes). His invention is sometimes referred to as “lead-acid accumulator”. The following year, he presented a nine-cell lead-acid battery to the Academy of Sciences.

In 1879 he published the book entitled Recherches sur l’Electricité. Planté’s scientific research and experiments on lead-acid battery further lead him to the discovery of the Rheostatic Machine, a mechanical device that uses a bank of capacitors arranged in series capable of producing higher DC voltages.

1881, Camille Alphonse Faure would develop a more efficient and reliable model that saw great success in early electric cars. Quick trivia: The first car produced by Ferdinand Porsche in the early 1900s was an electric car which ran on lead acid batteries.

In 1989, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences established the Gaston Planté Medal, which is awarded every few years to scientists who have made significant contributions to the development of lead-acid battery technology

More improvements in the lead-acid battery’s construction and design followed years after Planté’s invention. It was Camille Faure who made a significant improvement when he further increased its capacity. Planté and Faure’s remarkable inventions and work lead to the industrial scale manufacturing of lead-acid batteries. The achievements are remarkable if you consider that even after a hundred years the same lead acid battery is being manufactured and used globally for many applications.