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The Most Ethical Batteries for Renewable Energy Systems  RSS feed

 
Posts: 41
Location: Portugal
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I just watched this video posted by geoff lawton



Guys, I'm confused by this. I was planning to get lithium for my system, now it seems its actually quite bad. I dont get, aren't lithium batteries suppose to have more cycles than lead-acid?

Nickel-Iron sound great, too bad you cant find them anywhere (not where I live, at least)
 
Posts: 242
Location: Abkhazia · 400m elevation · temperate climate
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If you want a long lasting battery and are willing to maintain it regularly, then Nick-Iron is probably the best one.
Looks like you can get them from the Kursk Battery plant.
 
Posts: 67
Location: mid Ohio, 40.318626 -83.766931
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Because a battery is classed as better at performance doesn't mean it's better for the environment.
 
Posts: 111
Location: North central Ontario
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Like everything in the RE world; it depends. Notice in the video when they talk about longevity of nickel iron batteries they are only showing you the original Edison batteries from 60 ish years ago. .. the current version of the nickel iron are made in Russia and china. In the us you would contact iron Edison or elsewhere probably through alibaba direct from the manufacturer. They do have problems though. They boil off a lot of water so produce more h2 then lead acid. They have greater internal resistance then lead acid so "loose"more of their energy then lead. They are expensive usually 3 times the cost...
In terms of embedded energy lead is common easy to manufacture and fully recyclable. Nickel is harder to mine and manufacture but will last longer. Lead is still the norm in the solar world. Nickel is probably a better option if you can afford a battery bank as large as the lead equivalent. Due to price the sales tactic for nickel is to say you can undersized it since it lasts longer... that is a mistake. Nickel does have a finite life it's just longer. Push an undersized nickel  bank too hard and it will wear out faster.
Lithium iron phosphate has potential but is currently not recycled due to low volumes and problems  in its composite nature. It's real advantage comes in its ability to take a huge inrush of current in a short time.
They all have strong points and weaknesses.
Hope that helps somewhat and does not make it worse.
Cheers,  David B
 
pollinator
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Location: SoCal USA
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If you plan to buy batteries in the short term, and money matters, then lead acid is probably the best bang for the buck. It would be great if the nickel iron batteries become more competitive in the next 5 years, since I'll be looking to buy batteries in 5-6 years   

While we may make plans that we will be doing something for the next 20 years, it's pretty rare for that to be the case. But I think if you can afford nick-iron with that time frame, you would probably come out ahead vs LA.
 
Nuno Donato
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thank you all for the comments.

I was planning to get this new BYD lithium batteries, which have a very convenient "box" to store them and allow for easy expansion.
My plan was to get just one 2.5kw module and expand later (if needed, because I dont really use that much electricity and we have lots of sun here). Considering that I can discharge it up to 90% vs 50% for lead-acid, I dont think the price difference is THAT significant(around 1000€), having in consideration the longer battery life and convenience of lithium.

makes sense?
 
David Baillie
Posts: 111
Location: North central Ontario
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So This is one of those sales techniques I mentioned. While lithium can be discharged to the 90 percent level you should avoid it. For lithium you can get EITHER 10000 cycles OR really deep discharge rates. The claims are mutually exclusive. I'm not familiar with the bank you quoted but at 90 percent discharge most of the lithium iron phosphate packs will last 1500 cycles. Ask your supplier to provide a cycle versus depth of discharge table. It is a standard industry measure and should be available to him... In the lithium world I like the blue ion system myself. Their cells have 10 years of test data behind them...
Cheers,  David B.
 
Nuno Donato
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David Baillie wrote:So This is one of those sales techniques I mentioned. While lithium can be discharged to the 90 percent level you should avoid it. For lithium you can get EITHER 10000 cycles OR really deep discharge rates. The claims are mutually exclusive. I'm not familiar with the bank you quoted but at 90 percent discharge most of the lithium iron phosphate packs will last 1500 cycles. Ask your supplier to provide a cycle versus depth of discharge table. It is a standard industry measure and should be available to him... In the lithium world I like the blue ion system myself. Their cells have 10 years of test data behind them...
Cheers,  David B.



this is the datasheet I have access to: http://www.windandsun.co.uk/media/943876/BYD-B-Box-LV-Datasheet.pdf
doesn't seem to state a lot ... there's a round trip efficiency of 95%. In the shop where I got this info, they told me the 90% value was considering a 6000-cycles life. While a lead-acid was rated at 50% with 1400 cycles. thats a significant difference...
 
David Baillie
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Nuno Donato wrote:

David Baillie wrote:So This is one of those sales techniques I mentioned. While lithium can be discharged to the 90 percent level you should avoid it. For lithium you can get EITHER 10000 cycles OR really deep discharge rates. The claims are mutually exclusive. I'm not familiar with the bank you quoted but at 90 percent discharge most of the lithium iron phosphate packs will last 1500 cycles. Ask your supplier to provide a cycle versus depth of discharge table. It is a standard industry measure and should be available to him... In the lithium world I like the blue ion system myself. Their cells have 10 years of test data behind them...
Cheers,  David B.



this is the datasheet I have access to: http://www.windandsun.co.uk/media/943876/BYD-B-Box-LV-Datasheet.pdf
doesn't seem to state a lot ... there's a round trip efficiency of 95%. In the shop where I got this info, they told me the 90% value was considering a 6000-cycles life. While a lead-acid was rated at 50% with 1400 cycles. thats a significant difference...


Well... I don't want to be a naysayer. The charts I have seen show the values I quoted based on the iron phosphate cells most commonly used. The data sheet does not tell you the depth of discharge they used to achieve that result of 95 percent efficiency and 6000 cycles isn't mentioned anywhere. If you read the bottom of the sheet it does mention that to achieve the 95 percent efficiency rating they used a charge rate of .5 C . That is not a realistic test for an off grid battery a c10 rate of charge would increase the lead acid battery's efficiency up the the 80 percent range and is more common for charging. Batteries are kind of the wild west. Everyone has different numbers they throw around and it gets really confusing. The website looks good. maybe do some searches for reviews online not affiliated with the sellers site? Whichever system you choose try to size it in the 30 -50 percent per day range to give you ample reserve and long life. I wish you good luck.
Cheers,  David
 
pollinator
Posts: 574
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My thought is to buy used EV battery packs.  The environmental cost has already been paid so there is no additional cost to reuse them as a house battery.

EV batteries might still have a lot of life left in them, but are replaced because they no longer provide the range required, or they are available because the original vehicle was wrecked, etc.

Even an EV battery with half it's useful life used up will have better performance and efficiency than a brand new Lead-Acid or Nickle-Iron battery (MUCH better efficiency than a Nickle Iron), and it will likely outlast the Lead-Acid battery pack.
 
Posts: 533
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Can I suggest the most renewable form of energy is photosynthesis via tree leaves and the most ethical batteries are the resulting wood. Billions going into solar panel rollouts and they have their place in the diversified solution, but just imagine if the same investment and manpower went into planting trees.
 
pollinator
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Peter VanDerWal wrote:My thought is to buy used EV battery packs.  .......
EV batteries might still have a lot of life left in them, but are replaced because they no longer provide the range required, or they are available because the original vehicle was wrecked, etc.



Peter, as the EV market is relatively new, is there a common source for these jettisoned batteries.....do they go to wrecking yards or are they relocated to some other distributor?  Thanks!
 
Steve Farmer
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Peter VanDerWal wrote:My thought is to buy used EV battery packs. 



These are 18650 cells put together in series to add up to hundreds of volts. One fails and a hundred cells are seen as duff. The powerwall has some intelligence and switching to isolate bad cells but still suffers from this phenomena. So yes you can have an EV with a "dead" battery but lots of redeemable cells. These cells are amongst the highest quality 18650s you can find. But you are not just going to get a battery pack in a usable form, there will be ripping apart off enclosures and soldering and you will end up with something that has been separated from its charging circuitry which then gives you quite a fire risk.
 
pollinator
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
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Yeah. Personally, I dispense with convenience for a better performing product that will last longer, and one that's fully recyclable in current infrastructure.

The only reason to need a lithium-ion battery is portability, in my view. That's why they are used in everything from phones to laptops and tablets, to electric cars.

But a bank of batteries for a solar array only needs to be as mobile as the array itself, which is to say, not really, at all.

When the dust settles, I hope that we find we have a reliable, completely recyclable battery system, comprised completely of commonly-found and easily, cleanly-sourced raw materials, with an energy density and recharge rate comparable to that of gasoline in internal combustion engines. It will likely be less battery and more supercapacitor, in all likelihood, but whatever.

Sorry, Nuno, but it sounds like the battery guys you're talking to are trying to sell you on something you don't really need, and that won't do for you what you want, at least not as well as a cheaper, bulkier, lead-acid battery bank. I wouldn't trust a data sheet that doesn't conform to industry standard, and doesn't include basic information.

-CK

EDIT: I forgot about the ethical component. I wouldn't consider it ethical to use lithium at all, in the current socio-political environment. Where is all that lithium coming from, China? How well are they caring for the earth in the course of mining, and in disposal of waste products, both of manufacturing, and at the end of the product's life? In addition, there are many operations that are producing what will likely be termed "conflict lithium," either for reasons of questionable compensation and damages to property owners, or for reasons of "eminent domain," or whatever authoritarian dictatorships call such things. If there was a cheap, local alternative, I would choose that, and not touch lithium again.
 
Peter VanDerWal
pollinator
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Steve Farmer wrote:

Peter VanDerWal wrote:My thought is to buy used EV battery packs. 



These are 18650 cells put together in series to add up to hundreds of volts. One fails and a hundred cells are seen as duff.



Only Tesla uses 18650 batteries in their EVs.  All of the other companies use MUCH larger cells in their EVs. 

The Chevy Volt, for example, used 288 batteries (each weighing almost 2 lbs) in the first generation Volts, and fewer, heavier, batteries in the current generation.
The Nissan Leaf uses cells that weigh about 2.5 lbs each.

I'm not sure about Teslas, but with all the others it's relatively simple to replace a single cell, so one bad cell won't get the whole pack replaced.

Most of the used packs that are available now are from wrecked EVs.  In the near future I expect to start seeing used packs available because they no longer have enough range left in them.  This is especially true of the early model Leaf's because they didn't do anything to prevent 100% discharges so many of them already have less than 1/2 their original range.

I think the best packs to look for are ones that came from a wrecked Volt.  The battery management system on them never allows the battery to be fully charged or fully discharged which greatly increases their lifespan.
 
Peter VanDerWal
pollinator
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Chris Kott wrote:
EDIT: I forgot about the ethical component. I wouldn't consider it ethical to use lithium at all, in the current socio-political environment. Where is all that lithium coming from, China? How well are they caring for the earth in the course of mining, and in disposal of waste products, both of manufacturing, and at the end of the product's life? In addition, there are many operations that are producing what will likely be termed "conflict lithium," either for reasons of questionable compensation and damages to property owners, or for reasons of "eminent domain," or whatever authoritarian dictatorships call such things. If there was a cheap, local alternative, I would choose that, and not touch lithium again.



Actually the biggest lithium mines are in Australia, Chile and Argentina.  Combined they produce about 80% of all lithium.  Australia alone produces almost 1/2 of that.

China only has some very small mines, but they were smart enough to BUY most of the other available mines (and various other rare mineral mines)

Mining lithium generally has very little impact on the environment.  Lithium is typically found in salt flats and brine pools, "mining" it mostly involves scraping it up off the ground, or separating it from the brine.
 
Posts: 38
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I've been dying to ask this  but the thread is a tad young. Ethically sourced batteries can be construed to mean many different aspects .

Here goes.. I live in Great Britain so things might be a bit different to what is in place in the USA.

I have an on grid solar PV system . it's been very good to us paying for itself in about 4 years instead of the estimated 6 years .

Going through our production figures and the data available on the internet for the average output of such set up in the area it seems we are 18%  above the average output …

I've put this down to the adjacent bungalow's ( four feet higher up the hill than us )  large white wall and 30 degree sloping roof some 30 feet away, thus it's reflecting a lot of UV/sunlight back on to our panels .  There are also two 8 x 4 foot double glazed windows in that wall, when it's getting sun..07.00 till 1530 the yard between us is blindingly bright and very hot in our  side of the fence .  So I'm also guessing our panels are sort of preheated to maximum efficiency .

We have been running an Outlander PHEV for four years using excess day production for day recharging or low cost metered night rate company electricity on a time clock to top things up from 0200 till 06.00 hrs.

It works well , has dropped our transport costs to a few gallon per six months instead of a tank of fuel every ten days  . Adjusting all figures to take all modes of fuel into account means we are way ahead/ in pocket than the paid for in " four years" statement already mentioned above.

OK that's the set up .
For quite a while I've been interested in the possible addition of a rechargeable battery bank that will have some serious storage and at nearly 70 yrs old don't really want to try and install or maintain I myself as I'm also 80 % crippled.  They have only comparatively recently been allowed to be installed on the British electricity grid system plus they are slightly different to the USA's way of being wired up internally and externally.

One of the systems I looked in to is the Tesla power wall .. seems  it has now ben stated that the cycling rate is almost infinite .. so could well extend to more then 30 years ( that would most certainly see me  off this mortal coil  ) .

At first this seemed a bit far fetched.. then I remembered that the website for the Outlander has recently been added to , changed to state the Outlander PHEV drive battery is now warranteed for 10years ( didn't give an  ..at what percentage efficiency figure though ).

From my engineering apprenticeship days , doing things like engine development and component testing to destruction I realised that for a big company to be able to put that out in their sales literature the battery will have been tested to at least double the proffered warrantee to get a safe set of numbers that are not likely to be called to account if things fail .
I have two original Japanese made Makita  rechargeable hammer drill  batteries that are almost forty years old and still  take a decent charge to give me 25 minutes 20 x 8 mm concrete drilled holes from each battery so that kind of helps a bit,  but does not reflect the true picture.

Indeed it was put to me that Elon Musk would personally hop on his jet complete with installation team and bring a new battery to me if mine failed .. are the reliability figures really that good ?


So , I guess what I'm looking for is some sensible technically orientated views as to the sense in using one of the Tesla Powerwall's as my power store, that may / may not last 30 or more years.
I'm not really interested in the merits of one sort of battery compared to another as all are polluting to a fair degree . I'm looking for fit for purpose effectiveness instead .

Thanks
Dave 
 
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Aquion energy salt water batteries are cradle to cradle certified and made of none toxic materials.
They can be fully discharged and left like that for months, they don't burn and should last a long time.
I have them for over 2 years and very happy with them....
 
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As we all know that coin has two faces; similarly, whatever type of battery you choose, each will have some advantages and disadvantages. Before you choose a battery, you need to decide some parameters that can help you to make the right decision like how much you want to spend, do you want to take hassle of maintenance, do you need an eco-friendly battery or not, what is your daily usage, which brand do you prefer for your battery, etc. Once you know these parameters, you can easily choose the best one.
However, I have made a research where I found some benefits of lithium-ion batteries and lead-acid batteries. Here are some reasons to choose lithium-ion batteries and lead acid batteries:
Lithium-Ion battery:
• require low maintenance
• have high energy density
• can store more amount of energy in less amount of lithium
• consume less space as compared to others
• do not leak, hence they are safe
• have less charging time as compared to others.
Lead-Acid batteries are:
• able to withstand frequent discharging.
• cheaper than other kinds of batteries.
• more rugged durability.
• able to deliver more consistent performance than other batteries.
During my research, I have found that lead-acid batteries are best for an electrical storage in off-grid energy systems, whereas, lithium-ion batteries are best for the solar panels. So, you can make your decision according to the type of energy system you have on your premises. If you need some more information about which battery storage is best, then check out this blog: https://www.sunpowersource.com/best-battery-storage-for-solar-panels/
 
David Gould
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I tried to find out more about those salt water batteries .

It seems that the only company who made them went through a chapter 11 bankruptcy sometime in June / July 2017 .
I'm not very encouraged by the info I found on line that says they will be coming back like the proverbial Phoenix & that the batteries need further development & redesigning . Nor  the knowledge that a Chinese company has  purchased the company.
Think I'll give it a miss for a decade or so .
 
Posts: 347
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Steve Farmer wrote:

Peter VanDerWal wrote:My thought is to buy used EV battery packs. 



These are 18650 cells put together in series to add up to hundreds of volts. One fails and a hundred cells are seen as duff. The powerwall has some intelligence and switching to isolate bad cells but still suffers from this phenomena. So yes you can have an EV with a "dead" battery but lots of redeemable cells. These cells are amongst the highest quality 18650s you can find. But you are not just going to get a battery pack in a usable form, there will be ripping apart off enclosures and soldering and you will end up with something that has been separated from its charging circuitry which then gives you quite a fire risk.



Reportedly, there are quite a few electric vehicle batteries to be had through the v yards. BMS can be intact and/ or made to operate as safely as in the car.

Safer really, the charge and discharge rates are much lower in battery based residential power systems. The articles have great informaton, and i look forward to reading them when they come out.

Here are some links to salvage batteries. I think nissan leaf batteries are also available.

http://evtv.me/2018/06/100kwh-tesla-power-wall-on-steroids-the-powersafe-100/

http://store.evtv.me/proddetail.php?prod=TeslaBattModule





 
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