Alternative sources of energy are very vital. The importance of alternate or backup power is realized when one is faced with the power outage. Batteries are considered to be the perfect backup plan for the domestic and commercial users. Many vehicles and other products rely upon the batteries.
These batteries can be connected to many other systems and processes and have truly become the power behind today’s progress.
Types Of Batteries
There is a wide range of batteries available in the market. The manufacturers are producing all kinds of batteries that vary in size as well as the capacity to produce power. A few of the most common batteries in market are discussed below:-
Lead Acid Battery
This battery has proven to be the best for the deep cycle users. The users searching for the renewable energy can get following benefits from this battery:-
- Greater life expectancy
- Less price per kilowatt hour of storage
- Easy and user friendly maintenance
- Easy market availability
This is one of the common types of battery that is used by the people new in the field of renewable energy. It is similar to a car battery but is slightly better than that. However it is not recommended for use as deep cycle battery. Such a battery has higher cranking capacity due to the large number of plates but it has lesser charge and hence not suitable.
The larger the number of plates means that the plates are thinner and hence their charge holding capacity is also decreased. As a result they are not efficient for domestic use.
Golf Cart Battery
This is a better choice when one has to select a vehicle battery. The specially designed battery gives following benefits to the users:-
- The plates are much thicker and they have been designed to be always over 50% depth of discharge.
- The long life of the battery as a golf cart battery cart battery should last 3 two 5 years in renewable energy application.
- A typical golf cart battery comes in a 6 volt 220 amp hour ratings. So one needs two batteries to get 12 volts @ 220 amp hours
- It is considered as a liquid cell battery as there is no need to replenish the electrolyte used up in the battery.
- The liquid battery needs to be checked once a month to ensure maintenance but it is not applicable to golf cart batteries.
Liquid Cell Batteries
These are the common type of batteries used in cars etc. They are based on the principle of chemical reaction used to produce the current. They require regular maintenance to ensure that the contents and battery is free from the dust and other contaminants. In addition, one has to remain careful while opening the dust caps of the batteries because the dust may fall in the battery and hinder its performance. Also one should use clean hydrometer and funnel.
A few of the drawbacks of the liquid cell batteries are listed below:-
- These batteries produce hydrogen gas alongwith a corrosive acid mist when they are being charged or discharged. Therefore they must be installed in a well ventilated and non populated area.
- You have to ensure that the area is free from the sources of ignition. Your best choice is to use a sealed box with a ventilation pipe leading to the outside air.
- Periodic maintenance is the necessity with liquid cell batteries. You have to check the level of the electrolyte once a month. If you do not check it and the level falls below, the performance of the battery is disturbed.
Advantages Of Wet Cell Battery
The biggest advantage of the wet cell batteries remains their price. They are upto three times cheaper than the dry batteries. In addition, it is easy to charge the wet cell battery as the overcharging is not dangerous.
However you have to be extremely careful in charging of the sealed battery because it may burst in case of over charging.
Valve Regulated Lead Acid Battery
For the people desirous to use the liquid batteries but afraid of the hydrogen emission, the valve regulated lead acid batteries are the best choice. These batteries have the specially designed valves that are used to emit the gases in case of overcharging of the battery. However this also means trouble for the battery because once the valves have burst open, the battery becomes nearly useless. A few advantages of these batteries are:-
- Availability in different voltages and amp hour ratings as of the wet cell batteries
- Longer shelf life and these batteries last longer than wet cell batteries in standby mode
- No need to add water
- They can be mounted easily at all locations and positions
- No risk of production of hydrogen gas or corrosive acids
Charging Of A Battery
The main factor in battery life is the charging of the battery. This charging is done in three stages which are interconnected. These stages are bulk stage, absorption stage and the float stage.
1. Bulk Stage
As the name indicates, this stage involves bulk of the current. Maximum amount of the current is provided during this stage and the current may be upto 15 Volts for the wet cell battery and around 14 Volts for the sealed types.
2. Absorption Stage
During this stage, the current is kept constant but the amount of the voltage is gradually adjusted. As the internal resistance of the battery increases, the current slows down. The batteries absorb the charge during this stage and they are kept for several hours at the same stage.
3. Float Stage
This is the culmination of the battery charging process and also called trickle charge. At this stage the batteries have completed their charging and just supplied the current to maintain the charge and prolong its life. Once the battery is removed from the charger, this stage ends and the battery is ready for the operation.