Lets Have A Discussion About Nickel Iron Batteries

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

  1. BillBlake

    BillBlake Monkey


    I try to keep as much as possible in writing. There are 5 outfits (that I know of) selling Ni-Fe Cells
    in the USA and between myself and 2 friends that share the interest we stay in touch with all
    of them.

    Sintered Plate technology has been around. Changhong Batteries has a Lot of different type
    batteries including 'Sintered Type' right now.

    The infamous John D'Angelo

    Google: 'John D'Angelo and Brandon Williams'
    'Last List of 13 Nickel Iron Battery Questions .. by the 2009 NiFe Man'

    is considered by many to be 'The Father of Chinese Ni-Fe in America.'
    John told me that Hank and Stephen wanted him to sell their new Ni-Fe batteries but then
    I saw where a few months ago he said publicly that he didn't think they can pull it off.
    Personally I have no comment other than that I have to question some of the things that
    Stephen says. He seems a bit out of focus. You see by keeping it in writing a person can
    avoid a lot of attack because a considerable fear factor can develop over time.

    We have quite the data bank on this crazy Ni-Fe deal because it became a giant puzzle that just had
    to get solved while I was still alive. I probably will never know why - but it just did.

    On April 4, 2012 calling himself Nifeman here is what I feel that John
    (in my expert opinion on John's writing style after hundreds of emails back and forth over
    a long period of time) had to say. This was at the Legendary OtherPower forum as part of
    an eleven post spread by Nifeman before old Bill showed up and had to 'do' the man. ;-)

    Storage / Re: Two USA manufacturers of Nickel Iron Batteries now exist ... Reviews?

    « on: April 04, 2012, 10:01:35 AM »

    "2. Zapp works buys up ORIGINAL Nickel iron cells , takes them apart, cleans the plates, reassembles them and puts them in new polypropylene ( PP) cases (a picture is on their web site) of what there new "cell" like. AS for there "new" nickel iron cells I believe that they are still a very long ways from actually bringing anything to market. They have been advertising there "new " cells for about a year now on there web page. What they are trying to do is simple. Collect down payments and using the down payments to fund the initial project. It appears to me that they have not had enough people "bite' and therefore nothing really new seems to be happening there. Developing a new nickel iron cells will take MILLIONS of dollars and research and I do not think there organization has that type of capital. Just my opinion."

    People don't want to give a whole lot up and you have to dig from Many Angles and use
    a little 'Context Thinking' to bridge to the next Level of knowledge sometimes.
    Until there is actually a battery on the street that people are using all I would have for you
    is speculation. There is already way too much of what I call 'a veneer of knowledge' going
    around about Ni-Fe for well over a Century now.

    Word is the Chinese Government and Chinese Industry use a whole Lot of Ni-Fe.
    Twice as many Cells (or much more) in ONE BIG ORDER than what has EVER come into the
    USA over all the years combined - Period.

    Since they already have the Sintered Plate technology the first thing I wonder is why did they
    stay with Edison's 'Pocket Type.' Over there you can wind up in front of a wall playing games
    with those people when the Survival of their people gets put on the Line. You can make real
    good money but you Will Not jerk them around.

    BillFish :) Bill Blake
    Cruisin Sloth likes this.
  2. BillBlake

    BillBlake Monkey


    The Ni-Fe numbers do not have to be that bad. In the Jan. 2008 Changhong Batteries
    Operators Manual they jacked the Lithium Hydroxide (LiOH.H2O) up from 10 g/L
    to 40 g/L
    (at typical USA temperatures) and the results were real good.

    We talked at length with a Changhong 'Doctor of Batteries', PhD Chemist, about it on the phone
    a couple of times.
    He brought up that not only was Ni-Fe Battery Efficiency Increased but the
    Self-Discharge was decreased.

    Though the Life Cycle numbers didn't change much Changhong did change the definition of
    'End of Life'
    from 70% of original capacity to 90% which is a Huge jump!

    Mr. Edison had specific things to say about LiOH. (Future post.)

    There is a lot more that goes into why I feel the Ni-Fe numbers are a lot lower than they have to be
    but like I explained to Bruce in a private message unfortunately this whole pack of Ni-Fe
    Lies, myths, tales, planted stories, greed and corruption has to be torn all the way down before it
    can EVER go back up to where the technology belongs to be.
    Deep down I'm a great supporter of Ni-Fe IF it was done right which is a long, slow story.
    Ni-Fe can never excel based on nothing but BS.

    Beutilityfree and Iron Edison are both shipping LiOH via
    'Changhong and the Electric Indian' (The Ni-Fe Cells Builder)
    at around 20 grams of cheap LiOH per liter of distilled water. (You mix it.)

    I suspect this cheap grade has already absorbed plenty of CO2 because of cheap handling
    procedures. Same with the KOH. All your Battery Oil, etc. is a Joke if your just Locking da Fox up
    in the Chicken Coop!

    The 40 g/L stated in the Operators Manual disapeared to make more money. The devils.

    They already make way more than Changhong and the Shippers put together make for jiving you
    on the phone with their tap dance and fairy tales.
    (They are free to respond anytime - today is fine.)

    I was not happy with the price so there is always plan B and I had to let the 40+
    800 Amp Hour Ni-Fe Cells slide at this point in time.

    Finishing up on the Lithium Hydroxide - not only did the amount that worked so well get cut but
    it's the cheap Low 'Lab Grade' at around 55 - 56% pure.

    Not even the 'Battery Grade' at around 95-96% pure.

    Let alone the 'Reagent Grade' at better than 98 to 99+% pure
    which you can get with no problem IF you work at it instead of just phone hustle the next mark.

    This is just one example of several as to why I don't buy 'Blanket statements about Ni-Fe Efficiency'.

    It's a slow process to expose something that has been corrupted so hard and for so long.
    Just a tad at a time.
    The LiOH is today's, fear factor, tad. :)
    Stay tuned and in a few days we can 'Drop the Dime on the Mugs'
    at will - yet again. biglaff

    Bill Blake
  3. Fred Lyman

    Fred Lyman Monkey

    Hello All,

    Fred here. But before I start a little history. I have been around the old and new nickel iron cells for about 15 years or more. I do have an original set of Edison Nickel Iron cells that are 37 AH and are 68 years old. A good friend has a 24V, 500 Ah battery set the was purchased in 1995 from BeUtilityFree back when the company was named UtilityFree, Inc. So the many of the things I have to say about nickel iron cells will be all based on EXPERICNCE with both the old and new cells. So here goes:

    1. About Zapp Works.
    They have bought old cells from a fellow in New York and those cells are the cells they have available for them to "recondition". They simply take apart the old cells, clean the plates , and put the plates back into a polypopolene container. Of corse PP is not a see through cell material so you have to guess at the electrolyte level etc. Plus since 1972, shortly after Exide bought The Edison Battery Storage Company out the nickel iron cells where discontinued. So right off the bat if you buy a "reconditioned, repackaged" cell from Zapp you are getting cells that are at LEAST 40 years old or older. Good? Bad you decide. I corresponded with them recently about their "warranty" on the new cells and they told me they have a 20 year warranty. This is what Bert said from Zapp Works:

    "What you have from Stephen is what we support. We guarantee the electrodes for 20 years This is what you get. " Yes, when I asked for specifics and something IN WRITING I was ignored or let's blown off.
    Requarding the "new" NiFe cells from Zappworks. I have asked to see test results, pictures, or anything concrete yet absolutely nothing. IMO I believe they will never be able to develop this new nickel iron battery.
    2. BTPOST
    You say "if you can afford them" Are you aware that BeUtilityFree offers financing? WIth financing one can put a down payment that one would say pay on a set of L16 or industrial LA cells and, reep benefits and slowly pay the difference. No other company I know of offers battery financing. SO many more can afford this technology then ever before. Get the word out!
    I think you have some of your facts wrong. Changhong has been making their NiFe cells for over 40 years (they bought out the previous company making the cells about 15 years ago.), has sold literally millions of cells to the Chinese railroads so I think saying that they "don't hold up" nor compare them to throw away LA battery is simply wrong. The Chinese government would not buy NiFe cells for their railroads YEAR AFTER YEAR if they made JUNK. What say you? The facts do not reveal that they are throw aways. People who have bough cells from BeUtilityFree (such as friend) have had their cells in operation for over 15 years. They are not "junK" Sunking, far from it.
    4. IRON BRAN, i.e.. Brandon Williams.
    You state you have had no warranty claims? LOL. Well your warranty from what I see from your web site is only 2 years. BeUtilityFree warranty is 15 years M&W and 10 year on battery capacity. Why would anyone buy your cells when you can get a warranty from a company that has been shipping cells from China since 1995. They must know something you do not.
    How can you claim that all one has to do is change the electrolyte out every 7-10 years and have a like new battery bank? Have you had any direct experience with this being the case? If you have been in business only 2 years how can you make such a claim?
    5. Bill Blake
    You really state some interesting facts. Can you please state your "sources" of your facts. Many things you state are not based on fact that i am aware of and if they are facts then you need to site SPECIFIC sources of where those facts come from. One fact you have wrong:
    Correction: BeUtilityFree does not get the chemicals from China anymore, but ships the chemicals from USA sources. You need to get your facts straight Bill or check before you post. Things change. For a guy who seems to know so much I believe you have never owned either a new or old set of NiFe cells correct?
  4. BillBlake

    BillBlake Monkey

    John D'Angelo - owner of Beutilityfree, former Boss of Brandon Williams at Iron Edison Battery Co.

    John you have so many names going nowadays it's hard to keep track. At one time, before old Bill,
    you were not afraid to use your own name. I hear your Bob Stern at your Office now. No matter.

    I'm glad to see you jump back into the fray. As I've said before I kind of half like a da-n good criminal / con man . :)

    So here's my offer. Rather than me slice you up real fine and make you look bad let's make it some fun - how it should be.
    You have brought some old men tremendous laughter to the point that I had to start holding back inciting you so bad
    because we couldn't stop laughing. I don't want people having a heart attack here in the neighborhood.

    As you know I don't have any book intentions but my friend that became disabled from out of the blue keeps
    threatening to write a Home Power book with a large section on Batteries. He helped me bust the Ni-Fe Riddles
    wide open and wanted me to keep a little of the source material to myself.

    Here at SurvivalMonkey.com most everything I have said comes directly from your Ni-Fe Supplier Changhong Batteries
    who I jokingly call 'Changhong and the Electric Indian' (to their face on the phone and to their Executives in print)
    all the way to the Doctorate Level
    Or from 'Edison Doctors' at the PhD Level. All 100% Certified Notes from Thomas A. Edison himself and a few from his
    'Doctor' of Electrical Engineering and his work in 1915 which I did make public over at OtherPower.

    No, I never got any Ni-Fe Cells yet but I make that perfectly clear without you.
    Does a good Astrophysicist cruise the Universe to have an expert opinion?
    I know for a fact that you have no where near the experience nor have you gotten the amount of feedback
    from your customers that most people think that you have.

    You want something from me for nothing?

    Here is what I want.

    #1. I want you to start identifying BEING Beutilityfree. You can use a phony name if you don't want people looking you up.

    #2. You must List Exactly what Statements I make are suspect to not being 100% accurate.

    #3. You must come BACK into ALL 3 forums that you RAN from.

    SolarPanelTalk, Wind-Sun.com and OtherPower.

    Like I told Bruce there is just no humble way to say it. Your Ni-Fe Racket (years from now) will be identified as:
    BOB (Before Old Bill) and AOL (After Old Bill). ;-)

    Some people like TV, some like crossword puzzles, some like mystery novels, games, etc.
    Ni-Fe to me was like all of them rolled into one.
    The study is fairly complete now but there is always plenty more out there as I'm sure you have been following.

    IF you do as I ask the Sources are all yours for Free.

    My friend and I already discussed it since we like to stay a tad ahead of you John.

    [bow] I expect Plenty of fanfare now. Be assertive as possible. [bow]

    Bill Blake
  5. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Do we detect some animosity here? Take it private, if so.
    BTPost likes this.
  6. BillBlake

    BillBlake Monkey

    Hello ghrit,

    Thanks for the forum. We can easily cover some constructive ground without
    any problems. A little banter aside I feel there is a good solid exchange of information possible.
    In fact it can be a rare, if not final, chance if someone has a real interest in Ni-Fe.
    John / Fred opened some doors for us to make our Ni-Fe research
    move along - no doubt.

    It took a heavy price to be the 'Father of Chinese Ni-Fe Cells in America'
    and John / Fred knows that's something that I would never try to take away.
    I'll be more careful. He was obviously given a little help to get drawn in here
    like a moth to a flame.
    It's a great opportunity for people to get answers from the Main Man in the USA.

    As a matter of fact my Son has just put another round of research work on me
    (No Ni-Fe) so it would be a great time for 'Fred' to take the floor.

    Any Ni-Fe questions for Fred out there?

    Bill Blake
  7. Iron Bran

    Iron Bran Monkey

    A High-Performance Rechargeable Iron Electrode for Large-Scale Battery-Based Energy Storage

    Inexpensive, robust and efficient large-scale electrical energy storage systems are vital to the utilization of electricity generated from solar and wind resources.

    In this regard, the low cost, robustness, and eco-friendliness of aqueous iron-based rechargeable batteries are particularly attractive and compelling.

    However, wasteful evolution of hydrogen during charging and the inability to discharge at high rates have limited the deployment of iron-based aqueous batteries.

    We report here new chemical formulations of the rechargeable iron battery electrode to achieve a ten-fold reduction in the hydrogen evolution rate, an unprecedented charging efficiency of 96%, a high specific capacity of 0.3 Ah/g, and a twenty-fold increase in discharge rate capability.

    We show that modifying high-purity carbonyl iron by in situ electro-deposition of bismuth leads to substantial inhibition of the kinetics of the hydrogen evolution reaction.

    The in situ formation of conductive iron sulfides mitigates the passivation by iron hydroxide thereby allowing high discharge rates and high specific capacity to be simultaneously achieved.

    These major performance improvements are crucial to advancing the prospect of a sustainable large-scale energy storage solution based on aqueous iron-based rechargeable batteries.

    Attached Files:

  8. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Could a system like this be able to integrate into a 100MW project?
    We manage a project that is offset with seasonal curtailments due to high river flow (hydro) and it would be nice to have a buffer to store and sell back to the grid at a more opportune time.
  9. Kingfish

    Kingfish Self Reliant

    Fred Lyman,

    You need to re read my post on this. Hank at Zapp works told me the Chinese batteries did not hold up. I AM LOOKING FOR FACTS. I HAVE NONE YET. I talked today with Doug Laningham from Deka solar. Nice guy and nothing but straight answers from this man. His view of NiFE batteries is that if I want to learn about the reconditioning process and how to properly mix the chemicals , go through all the up keep and basically learn how to recondition one They would make one of best batteries going. Hank at Zapp works told me he had a 25 year battery and all I had to do was take the top off dump the liquid and flush with distilled water and refill with his electrolyte. What he says and what Old Bill says seems to be consistent , the Chinese batteries don't last. Besides, I don't want anything made in China. I was originally attracted to Zapp Works because they state they are selling AMERICAN MADE NICKEL IRON BATTERIES. I don't give a damn what the Chinese are doing. Any way Doug gave me some real straight answers to the reality of what goes into using NiFE batteries. To me? It seems this battery is in need of proving itself. BECAUSE of all this bickering about them? I will not spend a dime on any of them. So thanks a lot guys. I am going to buy something I know works from people who are not at war with each other trying to prove who is lying and who isn't. This sounds too much like the world record Musky debates that go on every year in the fishing world. No thanks I want no part of it. I want the longest lasting , best battery for my dollars and I dont have time for this bull s&^T Kingfish
    kellory, ghrit, BTPost and 1 other person like this.
  10. Kingfish

    Kingfish Self Reliant

    One last post from me on this thread that I started. I did ask for several of this forums members to call Hank at Zapp works and help me make a decision on whether or not to buy a battery bank from them. This thread has opened up a can of worms and a debate that I want no part of. I don't have time for this to be sorted out. I need an emergency system up and running before winter. Nickel Iron Batteries looked just too good to be true. What I see here is an American company trying to EXPAND on Edisons work and an Import company selling Chinese knock offs of Edison's work. The facts SEEM to be that Edison never really got this battery to where he wanted it. Many problems still in the stages of solving. A work in progress? Maybe. Maybe someday you all sort it out and we get them at a price that we can afford. Maybe we see a battery that is really the last battery I will ever buy. Right now I am disgusted with the entire concept and have decided to go another route in which I will at least Know with no doubts how long my batteries will last and what they will do. I will not be purchasing Nickel Iron Batteries. Good day gentlemen. Kingfish
    hank2222 likes this.
  11. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    KF, Have you looked at these, or at least this technology..... Kingfish

    Attached Files:

    hank2222 likes this.
  12. Fred Lyman

    Fred Lyman Monkey


    Hank from Zappworks told you the Chinese cells do not hold up. Well that is NOT true. Ask Hank if he has ever tested any of the China cells? Has he ever had a set in his procession or know anyone to have them? To the best of my knowledge he has not. You said you want FACTS correct? Seems like when I stated some facts in my 1st post here you did not catch one fact I said. I said that a good friend of mine has had a battery set from China for over 15 years and is still working fine. THAT IS A FACT. Now you can choose to believe that fact or not. If you do not believe it that is your issue, not mine. If you do not want anything made in China that is your choice, but that is you. That does not mean someone else may want to buy from China. When you talk to any one in the LA world they will usually downplay or be negative on NiFe batteries simple because it is in their best interest to do so. Every NiFe battery bank sold hurts the cash flow of the LA world. Same reason why the utilities hate RE systems. It takes away revenue from their bottom line. It is also your choice not to buy a nickel iron battery . However, the FACTS do show that both the original NiFe battery and the China nickel iron battery do or can last a very long time and there is proof or that. It is not a "work in progress" anymore. Edison sold his cells for over 72 years. The China NiFe cells have been now made for over 40 years. Again no longer a "work in progress" . Again you believe what you want, but the FACTS, for whatever reason you do not want to believe, speak for themselves. Have a great day and good luck on your emergency back up battery system.
  13. Fred Lyman

    Fred Lyman Monkey


    LiON cells cost about abut 35-50% more than what NiFe cells cost at this time. They are the preferred choice for EV because of their high energy density ad very high discharge rates with very low voltage depression. All the qualities one looks for in powering an EV.
    . In a stationary application the priority is long life and not energy density. I went to eBay and looked up the price of a 100 Ah ThunderShy cell. Price is $135. (http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw...sky+lifepo4&geo_id=9942&adgroup_id=5263816292)
    That is $1.35/Ah . A 100 Ah cell from BeUtilityFree is $101 a cell or $1.01 a Ah.(from their latest brochure) Iron Edison price is about the same as BeUtilityFree price. But wait, typically a LiON needs a battery management system (BMS) which nickel iron cells or LA cells do not need. That adds about another $1000 or so to a LiON battery set up.

    LiON cells have a typical life cycle of 2000 cycles at a 100% DOD rate. They have their strong points to me they are still "on trial" in the real world as far as longevity. However, one cannot do an electrolyte change on them and extend their life. With NiFe cells one CAN do that and make the cells last a lifetime (i.e to me that means up to 40 years) and we do know that NiFe cells do last even longer and that is a simple fact. LiON cells are a technology to be looked for stationary storage, but if you cannot afford a NiFe battery set or an industrial LA battery set then you certainly cannot afford to be looking at LiON battery set IMO. But hey, one cannot be told who to spend their hard earned money.

  14. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

  15. Kingfish

    Kingfish Self Reliant

    Fred, how about you ask Hank? my problem the bickering between all of YOU. I think you and Old Bill should keep this debate going. Lets see all the facts . IN WRITING. Your friend should post his set up. From you? its not facts its hear say.

    Ghrit, only 108 visits to your second link. This website was just published June of 2012 so its brand new. Its lists everyone I have heard of.

    BT Post, What Fred says is true, the LION batteries are even more expensive. Im back to looking at Gel mono bloc Batteries I don't have to water. Bill also pm,d me about another company who sell vacume packed dry batteries. Im looking into it.
  16. Kingfish

    Kingfish Self Reliant

    Cant Wait to see what Fred and Old Bill have to say about this.
  17. BillBlake

    BillBlake Monkey

    OK, I'll bite. Where is it?

    Heck I've been waiting on the EEStor ... EESU for years now.
    Forget a Lifetime - how about Thousands of years worth of cycles.

    Then mighty Panasonic.
    Been waiting on all that Lip about a Whole House Lithium Storage Battery since 2009.

    You see old Bill can't Live on promises - unfortunately.

    DONE RIGHT Ni-Fe is the answer for right now but don't hold your breath for a quick
    explanation as to how and why. It's a very long story.

    Short Story is something like the Rolls 5000 Battery Series available Wet or for another
    8% in a Truly Dry/ Vacuum Pack (Sealed Cells) set-up.
    Only 2 Battery Companies known to old Bill pulling off this trick.
    Most are not TRUE DRY.
    Ni-Fe not my only game.
    Fredie da 'One Trick Pony' - not me. [touchdown]

    Along with some Mylar bags and Oxygen Absorbers
    to prevent the slow Gas Transmission through the plastic and you wind up with what
    an advanced Survivalist would commonly call ... 'The Hot F---in Set-up'. [shtf]

    Bill Blake
  18. Brokor

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

    I'm sorry, my head just exploded. Please wait while I attempt to reassemble the pieces and get back to you...

  19. Fred Lyman

    Fred Lyman Monkey

    Mr Bill,

    Please be so kind as to call me by my real name which is Fred and not address me who you THINK someone may be. How rude to say the least. Maybe I think you are someone else, but I would never air that in public. After all you are just "guessing". So in the future please be polite and address me by my real name, which is Fred. Thank You.

    Now onto what I asked you in my first post. I asked you to back up your statements with facts. Ok, you state now that much of what you state comes directly from the Changchong manual If so then why don't' you upload the manual for all to see instead of quoting from it? But other statements you make you don't back up and seems like you are just randomly making statements about things you really do not know are true but maybe YOU believe they are. All I am and was asking is when you make statements please site a reference or something concrete we as readers can verify. For example, you state:

    We talked at length with a Changhong 'Doctor of Batteries', PhD Chemist, about it on the phone
    a couple of times.

    So who is this "Doctor of Batteries? you can't even mention the real name. Why? Any one can make such statements and one has to wonder why you cannot tell us his real name. At least Kingfish mentions a name (Hank) when he says he talked with someone at Zappworks. That way I can call and talk to Hank and verify what Kingfish said and that he was not just making it all up.

    If anyone wants to ask me question then fine. I will do my best to answer with facts and not BS. Also I am not a salesman selling cells but I do know first hand information about both the old and new NiFe cells. That is what I offer by being here. But I think this thread is already done Bill. I am quite sure this may be my last post, after all Kingfish who started the tread has already decided against buying nickel iron cells for reasons he so stated.

  20. Fred Lyman

    Fred Lyman Monkey


    Interesting that you cannot take my word for my friends experience using his nickel iron battery pack. That seems odd to me. Well I will tell you what. I will ask him to join this group and see what he does. How is that? I believe I told you the basics. 24V , 500 Ah. What more would you like to know? I can give you what ever details he is comfortable in giving out. I suppose I could even post pictures if he would allow that.

    At least you know that LiON cells are more expensive than NiFe cells. What is weird is that I thought I posted the price comparisons on here but I do not see the post. I try my best to back up what I say with actual verifiable sources.

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