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Lithium Batteries – The Future of Power by Peter F Hughes

 

Battery storage has been around for many years. There is nothing more annoying than a dead battery on a cold day! Used in the mining industry, in motor vehicles, boats, phones and for solar energy storage, batteries are a part of our everyday life. And this is where the problem lies, consumers are reliant on batteries. Recycling of our original lead acid batteries was both time consuming and expensive. Some companies such as RACV, NRMA and Battery World offered a replacement service where they would attend to your vehicle, replace the dead battery with a new one and recycle the old battery for you. This was a very innovative service.

The increased use of caravans, boats, camper vans and trailers has also seen an increased use in batteries. Most travelers now carry refrigerators with them and many are using batteries for remote travel. The introduction of solar panels has seen an increased use in battery storage. It could be argued with our superior days of sun and daylight, Australia is one of the largest users of solar energy in the world!

Up until recently, the only way to store that solar energy was in a traditional lead acid or amalgamated glass mat (AGM) battery. These batteries are very heavy, have a limited life span and can only discharge 50% of their stored energy. An advantage of these batteries is they are cheap and readily available. A person relying on them for power in remote areas of Australia must monitor them carefully, watch how they are discharged and use a generator on cloudy days. A 100 amp hour battery of good quality can sell for $350 and be recharged about 300 times. You would expect a battery of this type fully charged to run a small refrigerator for 3 days without needing a recharge..

Today this has changed, as technology often does with the introduction of the Lithium battery (pictured above). Lithium batteries are very light, can be discharged down to 0% and can be recharged over 800 times. This a real advantage for people who need a superior performing, longer lasting battery. The downside is its cost. A 100 amp hour lithium battery sells for around $1,500. You would expect a battery of this type to run a small refrigerator for 6-7 days without needing a recharge.

Now this becomes the problem for marketers. How to sell these lithium batteries. Below is a small chart comparing these batteries. At present, lithium ion batteries can not be recycled and end in landfill, a problem facing the Australian government.

 

 

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