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Although there is evidence of electrochemical cells dating back to 2000 years ago, the story of the first true battery starts with an Italian physicist by the name of Alessandro Volta. In 1800 Volta created the first battery based on pairs of copper and zinc discs, the Voltaic Pile.
It was with the invention in 1836 of the Daniell Cell, which consisted of a copper pot filled with a copper sulphate solution, that batteries would be made that could deliver a reliable current and be put to industrial use.
The first rechargeable battery, or secondary cell, was a lead-acid cell battery invented in 1859 by the French inventor Gaston Planté, whose work laid the foundation for the lead-based battery industry.
Since then there has been steady improvement of this battery technology, in parallel with other technologies such as the first dry cell (a battery with a non-liquid electrolyte), the Zinc-carbon battery, in 1887, the nickel-cadmium battery in 1899, the nickel-iron battery in 1903, the nickel hydrogen battery in the early 1970s, nickel-metalhydride batteries in the late 1970s, and lithium and lithium-ion batteries from the 1970s.
Batteries come in all sizes, from personal batteries used to power MP3 players, toys, radios and smoke detectors, to rechargeable batteries in mobile phones, laptops and portable DVD players, to industrial and automotive batteries used to crank cars with internal combustion engines (LSI batteries), power electrical vehicles and support renewable energy generation. Batteries are also widely used in motive (trucks, trains, ships, aviation, space) and stationary applications, such as providing back-up power for UPS and telecommunication systems. As such, batteries are an ever present part of our day to day life from work and leisure, to communications and travel.
At European level, the battery industry is represented by three organisations – European Portable Battery Association (EPBA), representing the portable battery industry; RECHARGE, representing internationally the portable rechargeable battery industry; and EUROBAT, representing the industrial and automotive battery industry.
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