I think the Nickel-Iron Battery
could be a useful approach to addressing the issues of energy storage in a low-tech and safe resilient manner. Part of what I think is appealing about nickel-iron batteries is that they have exceptionally long lifespans.
The basic workings of a nickel-iron battery appear to be well-illustrated in this diagram by The Narayan Research Group:
(source: USC Dornstrife)
From the diagram, the nickel-iron battery has an Iron anode and a Nickel oxyhydroxide cathode, and the majority of the electrolyte is potassium hydroxide.
Nickel Iron Batteries by LDS Reliance
From the video transcript:
"What's up youtube this is LDS reliance. it's time to talk about nickel iron batteries or Edison cells. In 1901 Thomas Edison patented the nickel iron battery in the United States and started to produce and sell them as the energy source for electric vehicles. Some of you may be surprised by that but electric vehicles are not a new invention anyway. After production of electric vehicles stopped several years later the technology was largely forgotten until World War two where they were used in rockets. Nickel iron batteries have a nickel oxide hydroxide cathode and an iron anode the electrolyte material is usually potassium hydroxide. This electrolyte material gives nickel iron batteries very low solubility which protects the electrodes. What that means is these things are freaking tanks! They have extremely high durability and very long life compared to other battery technologies. They can tolerate extreme abuse such as overcharging, short circuiting, and over discharging, and because the electrodes last so long these batteries can last for 50 to a hundred years or more making them one of the longest lasting battery technologies out there, and finally, they're pretty eco-friendly with plentiful materials and easy recycling. And now the bad news: these batteries are heavy; they're expensive they have low selves ulta j--low energy density and they don't retain a charge very long. So because of these characteristics nickel-iron batteries have traditionally been used in mining heavy machinery welding railroad subways and forklifts where their durability is great and their weight isn't a big deal. Recently, nickel-iron batteries havereceived renewed attention from solar and wind applications off the grid where daily charging is a fact of life and weight also doesn't matter."
Batteries That Last Almost Forever by Living Energy Farm
From the video transcript:
"Hi I'm Alexis Sigler from living energy farm. We're a community of people who live off-grid and we want to talk about batteries. The way normal off-grid systems are designed is that the solar companies give you a worksheet. it's based on your predicted household energy use. You figure out how much energy you need in your house and then you can figure out how big of a battery set you need. We feel like this is a very very bad approach without any daylight driver or thermal storage. The average American home uses a lot of electricity. If you use the normal off-grid approach you're led to believe that you need a really big set of batteries. Lead acid batteries cost about a third as much as lithium or nickel-iron batteries, so almost everyone uses lead-acid batteries, but we found that after four or five years but acid batteries start to deteriorate very bad. As the voltage drops on the conventional Matassa battery system the inverter will turnoff all at once and everything turns off all at once. "