Posts

TTBLS structure grown with additives

Improving Deep-Cycle Batteries Through Additives

Battery manufacturers have improved deep cycle battery performance through the use of additives, but not all of them result in the same benefit to customers. At the core of all deep-cycle flooded lead-acid (FLA) battery technology is a basic design that has undergone continuous improvement over more than 100 years. Lead battery chemistry is one of the most reliable and cost-effective technologies over any other type of battery used in a variety of global industries. While these batteries have historically been the most widely used and the most recycled, a variety of additives and technologies have been introduced over the last few years to improve their efficiency to an even greater extent.

Grid Alloys

Historically, the primary failure mode of deep-cycle lead-acid batteries has been positive grid corrosion. The grid alloys used to manufacture deep-cycle flooded lead-acid battery plates typically consist of lead with additions of antimony to harden the soft lead, and to improve the deep cycle characteristics of the battery. Additional metals are often added to the lead-antimony alloys to improve strength and electrical conductivity. Another additive that is used to enhance lead-antimony alloys is selenium. Selenium acts as a grain refiner in lead-antimony alloys. This fine-grain alloy provides additional strength and corrosion resistance over conventional lead-antimony alloys. The effect of these improvements is that positive grid corrosion is no longer the primary failure mode, and the cycle life of FLA deep cycle batteries has been significantly increased.

Active Materials

The starting materials for deep cycle FLA positive active materials are made from a mixture of lead oxide, sulfuric acid, and various additives. These materials improve the performance and life of the positive electrodes in a finished battery. Historically, positive electrodes have been processed using a procedure called hydroset. This procedure is designed to ‘grow’ tetrabasic lead sulfate (TTBLS) crystals in the plates to provide the strength to resist the constant expansion and contraction of the active materials during cycling. This crystal growing process has limitations in its ability to control the range of sizes of the TTBLS crystals. Through the use of crystal seeding additives, the range of crystal sizes can be controlled to the most desirable sizes. These uniform crystal sizes in the TTBLS structure result in increased initial capacity, faster cycle-up to rated capacity, higher peak capacity, and improved charging using the wide range of charger technologies used in various applications.

Concurrent with the improvements in deep cycle FLA positive active materials, improvements in the performance of deep-cycle FLA negative active materials are needed. Carbon additives have been used in the negative active materials of lead-acid batteries for many years. These additives have been used in lead-acid battery expanders to prevent the natural tendency of the negative active material to shrink or coalesce during cycling. Negative active material shrinkage can reduce the capacity and life of deep-cycle FLA batteries. Recent improvements in these carbon materials have opened up new opportunities to improve several performance limitations of lead-acid batteries. New structured carbon materials such as graphites, graphenes, and nanocarbons have been used to control sulfation and improve chargeability in a partial state of charge (PSOC) applications such as renewable energy.

Although the basic structure of an FLA battery hasn’t changed for more than 100-years, manufacturers are continually searching for ways to improve efficiency while maintaining their cost-effectiveness. Additives are one of the ways FLA batteries are becoming more efficient, and new technologies to further enhance them are on the horizon.

Maintaining Solar Deep-Cycle Batteries During Self Quarantine and Stay-At-Home Orders

With stay-at-home orders in place in many states, homes utilizing deep-cycle batteries for power could be increasingly straining their systems. As more people stay home, more appliances and electrical accessories that would typically be off during the day will be used. Add to that the fact that storms could reduce the amount of energy being generated by solar panels.

To avoid putting additional strain on your battery storage system, there are several ways you can keep deep-cycle batteries in good working order.

1) Minimize your battery-packs depth-of-discharge (DOD) to no more than 50 percent. Draining past 50 percent DOD will ultimately shorten the lifespan of your battery pack. If possible, schedule times during the day when certain non-essential items can be turned off. This will help minimize the total discharge.

2) If your home is plugged into the electrical grid. Use this opportunity to charge your deep-cycle battery pack to keep them from discharging below 50 percent.

3) Perform an equalization charge. Equalization charging prevents the build-up of sulfates on the battery plates that can reduce capacity. The batteries should be fully charged before any equalization charge is added.

4) Check water levels on flooded lead-acid deep-cycle batteries. Make sure the batteries are fully charged first, then add water as necessary to fill each cell, ensuring the plates are fully submerged.

5) Keep your battery area clean and check for corrosion and proper battery connections. Check the cables to ensure they are tight. Remove any corrosion with a mixture of water and baking soda.

6) Double-check charging rates during cold temperatures. Flooded lead-acid batteries charge and discharge differently in cold and hot temperatures. During winter months, it may take longer for batteries to recharge. The best way to ensure the batteries are fully charged and not dipping below 50-percent DOD is to use a hydrometer to measure the specific gravity of each battery cell.

Battery manufacturers recommend using a simple correction factor to your hydrometer’s readings. Using 80-degrees as your baseline, subtract (.004) from your hydrometer reading for every 10-degrees below 80 °F (5.6-degrees below 27 °C). For example, if the temperature of the electrolyte is 50 °F and your battery specific gravity reading is 1.200, you must subtract .012 from your measurement. In this case, .004 for every 10-degrees equals .012. Subtract this from 1.200, and your corrected specific gravity reading is 1.188.

Paying closer attention to your renewable energy system’s deep-cycle batteries will ensure they will remain reliable and get you through what could be several weeks or months of having to stay indoors during this outbreak.

National Battery Day 2020

National Battery Day 2020

Celebrating The Benefits Of Lead-Acid Batteries

For industries and individuals who depend on battery power for their machinery and energy needs, lead batteries play an essential part of their work and livelihood. Celebrating National Battery Day 2020 allows these industries, as well as battery manufacturers such as U.S. Battery, to recognize the benefits lead-acid batteries have provided to various industries for more than 150 years.

Cost-Efficient Power

One of the major benefits of flooded lead-acid (FLA) batteries is that they have the lowest cost per watt-hour than any other form of battery type. This is the reason why they are the preferred type of battery in industries that have moved into incorporating more electric vehicles and machinery such as golf carts, aerial and scissor lifts, RVs, floor cleaning machines, marine applications, and well as for renewable energy storage.  With regular maintenance, FLA batteries keep equipment and vehicles running for many years with a low cost of operation, while also remaining as the safest and most reliable sources of energy, according to industry experts and studies performed by the Battery Council International.

Economic Impact

The lead battery industry in the United States also provides a large economic impact by employing nearly 25,000 workers, according to a study by the Battery Council International. This equates to a $26.3 billion in economic impact that also affects suppliers, worker spending, transportation, and distribution that combined, totals 92,000 jobs equating to an estimated 1.7 billion annually in payroll.

Environmental Sustainability

One of the least known advantages of FLA batteries is that they are one of the best examples of a sustainable and cost-effective recycling effort in which nearly 100 percent of these batteries are recycled. All the materials in a lead battery are recycled into new lead batteries, which dramatically reduces their impact on the environment for the battery industry, as well as for industries that have embraced the use of battery-powered vehicles to reduce those that are powered by combustion engines.

In addition, many automobiles utilize start-stop technology, a system that shuts off engines while idle at a stoplight to conserve fuel. This technology, according to the Consortium for Battery Innovation, claims it eliminates 4.5 million tons of gas emissions annually in the U.S. alone.

While new technologies such as Lithium continue to increase in popularity and will foreseeably grow in use, battery manufacturers are finding methods to make them as cost-efficient as FLA batteries, and are also working on ways to effectively recycle them in the same way FLA batteries have been successful industry-wide.

 

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia Visits California Battery Plant

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia Visits California Battery Plant

On September 26, 2019, representatives from U.S. Battery and Battery Council International were pleased to host Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) at U.S. Battery’s manufacturing facility in the city of Corona. Assemblywoman Garcia is an author of AB-142, the Lead Battery Recycling Act (2016) which requires the Department of Toxic Substances Control to investigate and clean up properties impacted by closed lead battery recycling facilities. Additionally, the legislation stabilizes the funding for the program by increasing the current fee on battery manufacturers and making it permanent.

The facility tour showcased U.S. Battery’s process for manufacturing deep-cycle batteries, which are used for a variety of consumer and commercial applications, including energy storage to support solar and wind energy generation, and zero emissions backup power systems. These applications will be especially important in California, which leads the nation in the fight against climate change and has established ambitious goals to curb emissions of climate-forcing pollutants. To achieve these goals, the state will need to avail itself of all viable clean energy technologies, including lead batteries.

The U.S. Battery manufacturing facility is part of the lead battery industry’s overall contribution to California’s economy:

  • 3,056 jobs
  • $195.9 million in annual labor income,
  • $332.9 million in annual gross state product (GSP),
  • $998.6 million in annual output (overall economic benefit), and
  • $92.9 million in annual government revenue.

These benefits are widespread and support a variety of industries throughout California. For details on the economic contribution of the lead battery industry, visit: www.essentialenergyeveryday.com

US L16HC XC2 Deep Cycle Battery

A Solar Energy Battery Storage Bank Made To Last 16 Years

Low Amperage Draw And Impeccable Maintenance Kept A Battery Energy Storage Bank Operable For More Than A Decade

Grover, Wyoming resident Jody Jenson, isn’t living “off-grid,” but his home is in a rural part of the state, where water comes from a well and delivered to the home by electric pumps. After several power outages, he didn’t want to rely on the city’s power grid to have fresh water, so he built a 48-volt solar system with U.S. Battery Deep-Cycle batteries for energy storage that have provided 16-years or reliable service.  “I did not like the vulnerability of relying on the grid for our drinking water,” said Jenson. “I spent over $12,000 on this system, including digging a new 100-ft. well. It definitely wasn’t to reduce costs, but more about having freshwater availability.”

To supply power to the pump system Jenson utilizes four 120-watt solar panels mounted together and wired to provide 24-volts and is connected to a circuit breaker and charge controller.  To store energy, he uses eight US L16HC XC2 batteries. “The system powers the well-pump that draws 4-amps, depending on groundwater level, but it’s pretty consistent,” he says. “It takes about 18-hours to fill the 1200 gallon cistern. The system normally runs about 12-hours between low and full tank levels.  From the cistern, there’s another pressure pump that draws six amps for approximately three minutes after starting, providing roughly 30-gallons between cycles.”

 Even though the system doesn’t draw huge amounts of amperage, Jenson never expected that the US L16HC deep-cycle batteries would last 16-years. “When I bought them, I remember being told that with proper maintenance, they should last something like five years,” said Jensen. “I knew with care, they would last longer.”

Jenson has taken exceptionally good care of his deep-cycle batteries, demonstrating how cost-effective flooded lead-acid batteries can be with proper maintenance. His routine includes weekly and monthly procedures. “Every week I go to check the system, including the water level in the cistern, corrosion on the battery posts, charging rate,  and battery voltage,” he says. “The batteries are still showing 26.5-volts fully charged. Once a month, I also check battery water levels and the amperage draw of the two pumps. This gives me any clues as to any problems that might be occurring. Quarterly, I add distilled water to the 24 individual cells.” 

While most people would consider this an impeccable maintenance routine, Jenson also includes periodic equalizing charges. “After adding water, I equalize the bank of batteries with the charge controller for a period of two hours at a maximum of 16-amps,” says Jensen. “I have never equalized without the batteries being fully charged. I’ve totaled up all the water I have added over the years, and as of today, from February of 2003 to now, I’ve added 63-gallons of water to the 24-cells!”

In addition to Jensen’s unique system and maintenance procedures, U.S. Battery L16 HC deep-cycle batteries feature the company’s XC2 formulation that uses Diamond Plate technology, highly efficient synthetic tetrabasic lead sulfate (TTBLS) crystal structures that enhanced performance, charging, and extend battery life. U.S. Battery also manufactures a line of Renewable Energy Batteries that are specifically designed for energy storage and feature Defender Moss Shields that reduce mossing and sulfation conditions, and Outside Positive Plates that mitigate the effects of plate sulfation.

While receiving 16-years of service from a set of deep-cycle batteries is not common, Jenson’s theory of having a large battery bank with a relatively low amperage draw, does demonstrate what low depth-of discharge and proper maintenance procedures can do to extend the life of deep-cycle batteries used for energy storage.

U.S. Battery Manufacturing’s RE Series, Renewable Energy Storage Batteries Get An Updated Look

The Renewable Energy industry will soon appreciate the updated appearance of U.S. Battery’s RE Deep Cycle product line. The batteries will feature new labeling with stronger graphics and battery information, but the internal structure and design of the RE Series line will remain the same.

U.S. Battery RE Series deep-cycle batteries are the top energy storage solution chosen by a variety of industries and individual homeowners looking for the most cost-effective method to store energy from renewable solar and wind power systems. The unique components built into the RE Series batteries deliver the highest peak capacity, cycle life, reliability, and improved watt-hours per liter and watt-hours per kilogram.

These include the company’s exclusive Diamond Plate technology, highly efficient synthetic tetrabasic lead sulfate (TTBLS) crystal structures that enhanced performance, charging, and extend battery life. U.S. Battery’s RE-Series deep-cycle batteries also include Defender™ moss shields that effectively prevent the formation of “mossing shorts” caused when positive active material particles dislodge from the plates and collect at the top of the cell elements. Outside Positive (OSP™) battery design, mitigates the effects of positive plate deterioration and further increases battery life, overall capacity, and provides stable performance over the life of the battery.

U.S. Battery RE Series deep cycle batteries are available in 6-volt and 2-volt configurations, both featuring extra heavy-duty connector lugs for extreme power loads, a tough polypropylene exterior case, heavy-duty lifting handles, and the company’s SpeedCap® Venting positive locking system for easy maintenance. An optional factory-installed, single-point watering system is also available.

U.S. Battery manufactures a variety of deep-cycle batteries that are all manufactured in the U.S.A. and are distributed worldwide. For more information, contact U.S. Battery Manufacturing, 1675 Sampson Ave. Corona, CA 92879. (800) 695-0945. Visit https://www.usbattery.com.

Traveling Troy with Van

Camper Van Equipped With Solar And Battery Storage

Traveling Troy outfitted his Astro Van with a solar system and U.S. Battery AGM batteries for energy storage

Not many of us can pack up our van and head out onto the open road for extended periods, but Traveling Troy is a blogger who converted his Chevrolet Astro Van into a camper and is now enjoying the van life. “From the beginning of the build, I knew I wanted to be unplugged from the grid as much as possible,” says Troy. “I knew solar would be my main source of power, but we (my Dad and I) also installed the ability to use stored power and a battery isolator for those rainy days.”

Troy had no idea how many solar cells and batteries he would need, so he began listing all of the electronic components and how often he would use them. “To determine how many watts of solar and the battery size needed, I listed all the power consuming items I planned to use while traveling,” says Troy. “This included my laptop, cellphone, gadgets, fridge, and others.”  U.S. Battery has an Interactive Energy Chart that helps determine battery storage requirements on the U.S. Battery websites. “We took the estimated watt usage from each of these items and determined how many hours or minutes a day I would use them,” he says. “This gave us an idea of maximum daily consumption.”

camper van power center Realizing how much power he was going to need, Troy says he figured to utilize as much of the van’s rooftop for solar panels. “It was decided that we would go as big as we could go with the limited space,” says Troy.  “That ended up being 300 watts of solar panels on the roof of the van and two 6 volt batteries with 210 amp hours inside the van.”

Troy decided to use U.S. Battery AGM deep-cycle batteries because of their compact size and because he wanted something maintenance-free. “We knew space was going to be limited in the small Astro van and every inch mattered,” says Troy. “The battery compartment was no exception.  We chose U.S. Battery AGMs because we wanted a deep cycle battery that was reliable, maintenance free and spill proof.  The plan was to install the batteries in the back corner of the van and build around them.  The area above the batteries and around the batteries was valuable build space.  Two years later, and the U.S. Battery AGM batteries are still going strong.”

The solar system installed in his camper van is a custom build, but many of the pieces are readily available. “Our solar systems consist of Three Renogy 100 watt Monocrystalline solar panels run in parallel to a Renogy PMW solar controller which charges two 6-volt AGM 2000 batteries from U.S. Battery,” says Troy. “All the components are neatly packed into our ‘Power Center’ which uses what would normally be wasted space around the back passenger wheel well of the van.  Some of the components include a 200-watt inverter, 12-volt cigarette plug, shore power breaker and shore power battery charger.”

power center 2 (1)So far, the system has worked well and Troy has had enough power to live out of the van and explore the country. “I’m in the third week of a 3-month road trip and it has been really amazing being on the road full-time and living out of the van, off the grid,” says Troy. “My plan is to explore Arizona and visit the Grand Canyon for my birthday.  Then I’ll be exploring Southern Utah and the Mighty Five National Parks.  Finally, I’m hoping to meet up with my dad and step-mom in Colorado while they’re on a road trip.”

Troy chronicles his trips and the continuous build-up of his camper van on his social media pages, travelingtroy.com.

 

A Bright Future For Solar In California

Home Developers Gear Up For A Surge In Solar Panels And Battery Storage

In May of 2018, California passed a law requiring new homes to have solar power. While the law won’t take effect until 2020, builders are gearing up for what may be a surge in solar panel and equipment sales. While consumers fear the added solar systems will cause housing costs to skyrocket, advocates say that the extra costs will more than make up the cost in lower energy builds.

In a New York Times article, (California Will Require Solar Power for New Homes, May 29, 2018), sources say that the state is looking for alternative ways of energy production, which raises many questions as to how much of the solar energy collected will be put back into the local power grid, and how will rates change for solar and non-solar homes.

According to the Times, the increasing use of “smart” meters will help calculate costs and control consumption rages, but many homeowners are also looking into utilizing battery storage to offset peaks and valleys during high use periods. Battery storage is a popular way to efficiently utilize energy from solar and wind systems in rural off-grid areas, where solar systems output more than enough power during the day and charge batteries for use at night. Businesses often use battery storage to level out times of high energy demand and have seen dramatic cuts in their electric bills.

Most developers such as KB Homes, say that new home buyers will have a choice between buying the system outright (average cost is about $14,000) or lease the system with a monthly payment (on average $70 to $80 a month).  According to the California Energy Commission, the added cost of the solar system will add about$40 to an average monthly payment for a 30-year mortgage. While customers are offered an option, the overall hope is that the state can generate enough power for the millions of homes that are currently not on solar.

Lead Acid Batteries Offer Better/Safer Energy Storage Solution According to Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium

During a seminar by the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC) held in London, England last November, the lead battery industry was encouraged by the positive response from end-users in the utility and renewable energy storage markets made at the seminar.

Speakers during the event stressed that lead battery technology solutions meet all the requirements for energy storage installations while providing the most affordable option. “There are five essential reasons for utility operators to consider lead batteries in new energy storage systems they commission,” said Dr Geoffrey May of ALABC, “The new generation of this technology meets all the technical requirements of energy storage applications, it is the most cost-effective, safest, most reliable and most recycled, sustainable technology available today.”

Discussions during the seminar pointed out that lead battery systems better rival technologies in lifetime and operational costs, and are not subject to the same inherent safety issues with other systems. In addition, speakers during the seminar pointed out that 99 percent of lead batteries are collected and recycled at their end of life in Europe and North America, higher than any other battery technology.

Dr. May explained during the seminar, that lead batteries are available which will provide up to 5000 deep cycles. This has a major impact on the total cost of ownership of a lead battery for energy storage and is more than a match for other battery energy storage technologies. In addition, research work carried out by ALABC has improved lead battery performance in the special conditions that are seen with renewable energy sources, particularly solar photovoltaic sources, where the battery is not fully charged at all times. This has focussed on the addition of special carbons to the battery electrodes and has now been widely adopted by many major battery suppliers. For more information on the seminar visit www.ila-lead.org. Additional information on U.S. Battery’s RE batteries for energy storage can be found on the company’s website, www.usbattery.com