Lets Have A Discussion About Nickel Iron Batteries

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by Kingfish, Jul 15, 2012.


  1. Kingfish

    Kingfish Self Reliant

    I talked with Hank at Zapp works and am very impressed with their new line of Batteries made in Montana. http://www.zappworks.com I would like Andy , Nadja , hank and any of our other serious solar guys to give this company a call and see what you guys think. KF
     
    arleigh and hank2222 like this.
  2. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    Just finished a long conversation with him. Nice guy, product SOUNDS good anyway. Would want a couple of refferences outside of montana to really find out more about them. Never just from the horses mouth. That is easily slanted to promate sales.
     
  3. Kingfish

    Kingfish Self Reliant

    The one part I have a problem with is that because these batteries can discharge much lower than lead acid you need an inverter that will go below 9 volts. Only Magnum is offering one that does this. I was all set to buy an Outback 2500 and now am at a standstill once again. Hank at Zapp works tells me that Magnum was founded by another guy from Trace. He claims that Magnum inverters have all the same fets and other components just not the huge robust Aluminum case. This is the main focus of my questions on these batteries. It seems they have solved the long term battery problem. Nickel Iron lasting 100 years at float 25 in between changing out the electrolite. This means that I can service them myself. They have the ability to discharge much further then lead acid making them a deeper storage battery with no damage to the battery. With spare electrolite you can keep them running forever. The problem I have with running solar is BATTERIES . Lead acid have to be replaced every so many years so to me are no good at all for long term self reliance. Nice while you can get replacements but if the SHTF and it stays bad there are no replacements. The system stops working and you have nothing. If this battery does what they say it does it solves this problem. The last battery bank Ill ever need is worth the price if you ask me. I can keep this battery bank at a float charge for 100 years and never use it if need be. To me that is the perfect battery for long term backup power ready to go when the grid fails. I really believe this is the right way to go. Magnum or Outback if both built by ex Trace guys why is there an issue if the same components are used. ? Input, we need input on this subject. KF
     
    arleigh likes this.
  4. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Constructing your own:
    This video just shows the concept, not an actual battery design. For routine use and solar application, you would have to scale up and change the design a bit. I am awaiting their final updated version to see what they came up with. Website: http://www.facebook.com/pages/CLS-Educational-Outreach/215317098557383

    The batteries at ZappWorks look great, but they certainly appear to be expensive for what they are. The concept of the nickel/iron battery dates back to Edison and they are inherently eternal batteries if maintained. The problem was, companies couldn't maximize profits from a product that lasts forever -they needed to keep selling more. If Zapp or others are asking a fortune for a battery just because its natural qualities outlast some China made modern product...I would be insulted. I can make my own for pennies. Perhaps their battery container and attachments are high quality, but I do not see several thousand dollars of quality in these batteries. Me thinks it's a rip-off.

    More battery prices here: http://ironedison.com/nickel-iron-ni-fe-battery

    melbo just because. ghrit because he's old and might remember Edison. BTPost because he's smart and probably cold up there in his igloo and needs a nickel iron battery.

    Link to information: http://www.nickel-iron-battery.com/

    Also, I am no expert in batteries, but I think these types would require a lot of maintenance to keep them topped-off. Auto-watering may be available to curb this, but there's much to consider. I would like to know what some of our local experts have to say about nickel iron batteries.
     
    Tikka and hank2222 like this.
  5. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    NiFe Batteries are great, IF you can afford them. The cost is in the Nickel, and Iron sintered Plates. These need to have LOTS of surface area, to get the AMPHour Rates, up to what you would expect from a similar sized Lead Acid Battery. Modern Cell Construction materials (Plastics, ect) will be very good,
    but the design MUST take into account, that the Electrolyte is a very Strong Alkaline, instead of an Acid.
     
    hank2222 likes this.
  6. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Those folks in Montana are taking deposits for a Platinum Battery which will last 6 lifetimes...

    Guys, if SHTF, you can't eat batteries [raspberry]
     
    BTPost likes this.
  7. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I think the main reason why they are so expensive, is the fact that so few companies actually produce the nickel/iron batteries. Bruce mentioned the materials used and the fact that their must be a lot of surface area, and I would imagine a bit of work goes into dimpling the plates to make them react better with the KOH --all of this adds to the price, I am sure.

    It would be cool to see an affordable NiFe battery, with a little modern pizzaz. http://news.stanford.edu/news/2012/june/ultrafast-edison-battery-062612.html
     
  8. Kingfish

    Kingfish Self Reliant

    I think the trick is going to be getting the right size bank and inverter to start and then enough solar to keep it topped off. What I love about these is the 100 year life span at float . In other words I can hook them up to the grid and keep them topped off for the rest of my life and my kids life if need be. If the grid goes down Im ready to use them. I dont have to run them now meaning my solar panels and inverter can sit in storage protected. Even at the prices they are selling for they still are cheaper then three or 4 sets of lead acid batteries and no hassle of changing them out. Re fill at 25 years and go. Now why doesn't Outback get on board with this and design an inverter that will run down to 9 volts?
     
  9. Kingfish

    Kingfish Self Reliant

    Broker, They told me the Chinese batteries are only nickel plated and dont hold up. This means the china ones are throw away batteries like the lead acid. Once the plating is gone its over. Looking at the cost factor between lead acid, AGM and gel mat compared to these I see more savings in the Nickel Iron in the long run meaning out to 25 years and beyond. Just the fact that they dont lose anything at float makes them the perfect long term emergency backup battery. What I would like to see is this , a comparison of one 3kw nickel Iron battery bank at 3950.00 to the same bank in Lead acid. then multiply that by 3 and 4 times meaning 7 year life. It takes three banks of lead acid to go 21 years or 4 banks to go 28 years. My guess is you will spend more in Lead acid in the long run for the same bank. I am not an expert though so you experts need to help me out on this.
     
    Cruisin Sloth likes this.
  10. hank2222

    hank2222 Monkey++

    You guys and gal's i have to say this thread is the reason why i keep coming back to this website all the time i might not post something all the time but it does make you think about something everytime i read one of the post here.

    Compared to the other guys like Nadja and BTpost and TNAndy i'm a babe in the woods when it comes to somethings about solar and wind but every day i'm learning more and more about it
     
    kellory and jollyrodger13 like this.
  11. hank2222

    hank2222 Monkey++

    I have some crazy thoughts about using the socalled large amp hour iron -nickle battie set up in what i call my winter time power grid . I was offered a job in Fairbank's Alaska by my company and i have been playing with the idea of the socalled winter time battery bank project to run the small off grid home i was looking to build there .

    The basic idea was to build a 10- 900.amp hour 24.volt bank set up to run the cabin at 5.kw power that would be needed to run the small applainces i put into the place for everyday usewhen i was living there from small frezzer unit and fridge to mircowave oven to tv dvd unit to the power the blower on the heater system that i would install in the place to heating up small amounts of water to wash with as it needed .

    The whole bank would be charged during the long summer days of the northern alaska day with a set of solar panels to recharge the unit and used all during the winter months becuase of having such short solar days cycle there in the northern area of Alaska .
     
  12. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    You mean they get sun up there in Alaska ? Ask BTPost about the amount of avail. sun hours during the day in the mean season. I think you would need a really good back up gennie minimum to get you through the nights.
     
    hank2222 likes this.
  13. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    In Fairbanks, the winter Sun, even on cloudless days is only around for a FEW Hours.... Solar makes little sense in Alaska, during winter.... During summers, it is a viable power source, IF you don't live along the coast, in the Rain Forest, like I do.... I have neighbors that power their outfits with Solar, during the summers, with occasional Backup Generator charges to fill in when it rains for weeks at a time. These same neighbors live in Aridzonia, in the winters, and that same Solar, can barely keep the Battery Banks from Freezing. Where I live MicroHydro is the way to go.... Water we got, and lots of Head as well.... ..... YMMV....
     
    kellory, Cruisin Sloth and hank2222 like this.
  14. Iron Bran

    Iron Bran Monkey

    This discussion is great because Nickel Iron batteries are finally getting the attention they deserve. I think there is a good battery for each specific application, so I am confident in saying that lead acid is not the best fit for a lot of current applications.

    A couple years ago, I started up Iron Edison, a company based around designing Nickel Iron battery backup systems for off-grid and residential applications. Today, Iron Edison has Nickel Iron battery systems functioning from Coast to Coast.

    • Nickel Iron features up to 85% available capacity, so you can draw the battery all the way down without any damage.
    • The plates in the battery do not degrade over time. The charge reaction is perfectly reversible, so there is no sulphation.
    • Expected life of 20+ years, with older examples still working well.
    • After 7-10 years, you can refresh the liquid electrolyte and renew the battery's original capacity.

    Interesting note about the plates, please make sure to read the process of making the original Edison batteries - as they are also plated nickel. Check out the systems that we have up and running now, and don't hesitate to drop me a line with any questions you have!


    IronEdison Battery Box_113568300.
     

    Attached Files:

    hank2222 and Kingfish like this.
  15. Kingfish

    Kingfish Self Reliant


    Ok so tell us about the Iron Edison battery. The case studies are great. I like what I see. Are your batteries manufactured here in the U.S. KF
     
    hank2222 likes this.
  16. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    II kinda thought that if you wanted to advertise here, you went to the site leader, Melbo I believe and asked him first. I am sure they will allow it, but also pretty sure you will need to pay a few FRN's for the privledge of the captive solar audience
     
  17. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Naja, admin has addressed this on the side. Thanks.
     
  18. Iron Bran

    Iron Bran Monkey

    It's important for me to disclose that I sell and design these systems, but that my primary motive is to share factual information with the community. I love researching the 100 year history of this battery as much as I like working with the brand new equipment. I endorse Nickel Iron in general, and am happy to help answer questions or share what I know.
    Edison Quote.
     
    hank2222 likes this.
  19. Iron Bran

    Iron Bran Monkey

    There are no new batteries being made in the US. There is one company taking old cells, cleaning them, and selling them as new. I would not buy an old car with a new body, and call that "new". The FTC mandates that we call that item "refurbished" and that it be clearly labeled.

    There are 3 factories in the world that make new NiFe cells. 2 are in China and 1 in the Ukraine. Because we are partnering with manufacturers that are already making this equipment, the quality is very high. I have not processed a single warranty claim in 2 years. We are not sending new designs to some far-away place and hoping they do things right. They are already doing things right, and we can take advantage of these industrial batteries for off-grid projects.

    If one cell were to fail, and I had to replace it, the system would work just fine because it would only drop the system voltage by 1.2V. On a 24V or 48V system, you would not even feel the difference of 1.2V. At the beginning of this thread you were talking about a 12V system, and I wanted to share some more information on why a 24 or 48 V may be a better fit. John P, the CEO of Apollo Solar, prepared the attached guide on system sizing. I have included some more articles that may help, too.
     

    Attached Files:

  20. Iron Bran

    Iron Bran Monkey

    The problem in the winter in Alaska is that you have approximately 0.0 hours of sun to charge the battery and power your loads. This is why many full time off-grid systems use a generator like the Kohler 14 RESA, which can run on propane / natgas.
    Home-Appliances.
     
  1. Asia-Off-Grid
  2. Kamchuka
  3. Kamchuka
  4. Motomom34
  5. ack787
  6. gridless_om
  7. OntarioLakeside
  8. stg58
  9. techsar
  10. GhostX
    [MEDIA]
    Thread by: GhostX, Aug 27, 2016, 17 replies, in forum: Off Grid Living
  11. Ganado
  12. kateTV
  13. oil pan 4
  14. Vaejovis carolinanus
  15. T. Riley
  16. UncleMorgan
  17. Fall off the Map
  18. Yard Dart
  19. hitchcock4
  20. Ozzy
survivalmonkey SSL seal        survivalmonkey.com warrant canary
17282WuJHksJ9798f34razfKbPATqTq9E7