French advanced battery manufacturer Saft has won contracts to supply around 5 million lithium cells to electricity metering projects in China, India and Taiwan.
Saft will deliver its Eternacell-branded primary lithium battery in what the company calls a "commercial breakthrough" for utility metering applications in emerging economies.
The Eternacell ER 14250 cells is a 1/2AA format that offers a nominal voltage of 3.6 V and a nominal capacity of 1.2Ah.
Saft said it has optimized the product to provide at least a ten-year life span to power real-time microprocessor clock and memory backup functions for new generation of electricity meters.
The lithium-thionyl chloride cells can maintain typical currents for electricity meters with a wide operating temperature covering any outdoor condition and have a low self discharge of less than 1% per year, said Saft in a statement.
Saft is manufacturing Eternacell batteries at its China facility based in Zhuhai.
Commenting on the recent orders, Thomas Alcide, general manager of Saft’s Specialty Battery Group, said: “This is a significant breakthrough for the Eternacell brand in Asia.
"And this success in the electricity metering market now provides the platform for us to target Eternacell solutions at other applications.”
Growth in battery revenue
Saft, which also makes batteries for aviation and other industrial uses, claims to hold a 45% market share of batteries for metering applications.
In May 2014, the company reported growth in sales of its speciality products for the energy industry in Q1 of 2014.
Sales of Li-ion batteries totalled €61.1 million (US$84.78 million), a year on year increase of 5.2 per cent at constant exchange rates.
At the time, the company reported strong demand in the European market particularly from metering customers, and from the Chinese market.