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    Simple Energy Systems

Sustainable Energy Storage

How it all works

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The future is electric!

The advent of a reliable means to store electricity in the home and the workplace will transform the use of renewable energy into the preferred choice of many and easy to install by a skilled electrician.

The storage of energy, with the use of batteries, has been the subject to intensive research. With the advent of renewable energy technologies, mobile devices and electric motorised vehicles, this research is accelerating. Battery research will continue to develop new and existing materials and methods of manufacture.

Energy Storage

There are different types of material used in the manufacture of batteries. The materials used determine the energy performance and longevity.

Currently, the two main choices of battery types are :-

  • Lithium – Ion
  • Lead – Acid

Both battery types do the same job but in different ways. Lead-Acid has been in use many years whereas Lithium-Ion is a more recent development and well known for use in electric motorised vehicles.

The main advantages of Lithium-Ion compared to Lead-Acid

  • About 70% less weight and size
  • Greater energy efficiency in that the discharge can be down to about 90% rather than 80% for Lead-Acid
  • Faster charging rate
  • Much longer life

 

How battery system works

The first important point to note is that the life of a battery is mainly determined by the number of cycles it can accommodate, not by a period of time. One battery cycle is the full charge and consequent discharge. You can make an estimate of how long a period of time a battery will last by calculating your use. In practice, of course, the battery is not always subject to a full charge and discharge. Many battery manufacturers do offer a time period guarantee of say 3, 5 or 10 years, but read the small print!

A battery system saves electricity generated by solar panels or other renewable Energy systems for later use rather than exporting it to the grid. The electricity that is generated will first supply electricity to the property before charging the battery system. Excess electricity is then diverted to an immersion heater (if there is one) in the hot water tank. Any excess electricity is exported to the National Grid. However, it is possible to add additional battery storage to an existing system. If there is a power cut, the battery system will continue to provide electricity until exhausted. The battery system can be located in any covered area such as a garage or external housing. It should be placed as close as possible to the electricity consumer unit.

If there is an existing solar panel array installed on a property and a battery system is installed at a later date, any existing Feed in Tariff is unaffected and therefore still receives the same financial benefits.

Batteries produce electricity, which is then connected to a device that requires electricity to work. Electricity is an electrochemical reaction produced from three parts, a negative electrode known as an Anode, a positive electrode known as a Cathode and a liquid or solid separating them known as the electrolyte. These three parts are called a Cell. The two electrodes are always of different materials, one material that wants to give away positive Ions or Electrons and the other material that wants to receive them. There can be a number of Cells in one battery. At either end of a traditional battery is an Anode terminal and Cathode terminal which when connected to an electric circuit causes a chemical reaction in the electrolyte. This chemical reaction in the battery causes the positive Ions to flow in one direction from the Cathode to the Anode within the electrolyte. At the same time, the negative electrons at the anode flow through a connected circuit in the opposite direction. This makes the electric current to power an electric device. As a battery generates power, the original chemicals inside the battery start to change to different chemicals. This change reduces the flow of electrons thereby reducing the power output of the battery over time until power ceases.

 

Battery Management Systems

It is vital that the correct battery management system is used to control the battery charging. This is to ensure that the individual cells that make up the battery are actively balanced plus the prevention of under or over voltage, which can otherwise destroy the battery. The Battery Management System is usually the same size as the Battery System.

With the advent of renewable energy technologies, mobile devices and electric motorised vehicles, this research is accelerating.

 

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