We do not sell these batteries, or gain any monetary value from promoting this technology, other than the satisfaction of seeing folks get a superior off grid storage system.
Tonight we had a nice chat with Stephen Ellis, of Zappworks. They take original Edison NiFe batteries, and re-manufacture them with improvements, and make a battery superior to anything else on the market. Why is it superior?
Well, for one, it’s the last set of batteries you’ll ever need to buy. Your grandkids will still be using them. Unlike lead acid batteries, the electrodes do not decay during use. Only the electrolyte (KOH) needs changing every decade or so, and there’s no lead to pollute the environment, not like you’d ever need to throw these away.
Ok, so what else makes them superior? Well, when you buy pack of lead acid batteries, and you need 1000 ah of storage, you actually have to buy nearly 2000 ah, as about 50% of the battery capacity can’t be used without severely degrading battery life. Not so with the Edison battery, you can discharge it down to 95%, and the voltage stays stable!
You want more? Ok. If you over charge, under charge, or leave a lead acid battery stagnate (no charging, no discharging), you damage the battery. You can take a battery bank that should last 7+ years, and kill it in less than 3. You can’t damage a NiFe pack by over charging, under charging, or leaving them unused for long periods of time. In fact, in one year they will have only lost 30% of their charge if left unconnected.
“Ok, but I heard they are very inefficient, and you have to put a lot more power into them than you get back”. Not so with these batteries. For every 100ah you want out, you need to put 130 ah in, making them 70% efficient at converting chemical to electrical energy. Normal lead acids beat that by only 10%.
Like lead acids, you need to add distilled water every month or so, and the battery box needs to be vented to the outdoors. They produce hydrogen when charging over 80%, but not the sulfur that lead acids produce, so no corrosion issues. Auto watering systems are available.
They have similar temperature requirements, 60F – 100F is optimum.
They do have different charge voltages, so you will need a programmable charge controller and inverter, like the Outback units.
Unlike lead acid batteries, you can add new batteries to expand the pack at will. You can’t mix old and new lead acid batteries together, as the old ones will bring the new ones down to their level.
NiFe’s are a bit more expensive than lead acid batteries (about 25%), but you only need to pay it once. It’s the last battery pack you will ever need to buy, and it’s American made! Do we like these batteries? You Bet!