Charging the Future of the Car

Cutting-edge technology transforms ‘old-fashioned’ paper into an electrical marvel.

Paper is playing an important role in modern automotive technologies at Glatfelter’s Composite Fibers Business Unit (CFBU). For several years now, the market for electrical papers has seen strong growth and movement, and with the further electrification of cars, that growth is expected to continue for many years to come.

Car batteries are evolving and paper, or “composite scrim” as it is referred to in the industry, plays a key role. Glatfelter has developed a form of composite scrim that is capable of extending the battery cycle’s life so it can better handle new requirements. “For several years, Glatfelter has … been a market leader, supplying raw materials for standard lead acid batteries,” says Brendan Naughton, Glatfelter’s sales and marketing development manager for electrical markets. Originally, battery technology was fairly basic: Its main job was to start the car. Now, with stop-start technology, the car battery is in constant use, which means that the electrical loading is much more aggressive.

Automotive technology is developing quickly, and further electrification of the automobile will continue. Glatfelter is advancing its products to meet these new demands and improve sustainability. Naughton says that the next phase of product development is a technology that will use the energy from a vehicle’s brakes to recharge a car battery. Because current batteries recharge very slowly, a Glatfelter innovation goal is to develop a product that will significantly improve the charge acceptance (or rate of recharge). Such an advancement will also allow for conversion of braking energy into stored power.

In the past few years, the products manufactured by the CFBU have moved from “an essential component in producing batteries efficiently” to also becoming a “key material for ensuring superior battery performance,” says Naughton.

So, if you’ve been of the opinion that paper is a rather old-fashioned technology, think again. The role of composite scrim in car batteries is developing in fascinating ways, ensuring that paper remains essential in the transportation of the future.