Nickel-Iron batteries for microgrid energy storage

19th August 2013
Posted By : Nat Bowers
Nickel-Iron batteries for microgrid energy storage

Encell Technology has today announced the introduction of a new Nickel-Iron battery, the Atlas 160. Designed to replace traditional valve-regulated lead-acid batteries in demanding microgrid energy storage applications, the 160 Ampere-hour, front-terminal, 12-volt rechargeable batteries started shipping this week.

“The advanced NiFe battery chemistry of the Atlas 160 completely eclipses the performance of industry-standard VRLAs in this application. The economic benefits in terms of the number of batteries required and the frequency of replacement make the Atlas 160 the clear winner,” commented Robert Guyton Jr., Chairman and Founder of Encell Technology.

Comprised of a standby generator and solar energy panels, microgrid installations are commonly used to ensure continuous and reliable power in environments where utility power is erratic. Batteries in this application are frequently cycled and may undergo deep-discharge cycles, which significantly reduces VRLA battery life.

Typical specifications show reduction from over 5,000 cycles at 20% discharge to just over 500 cycles at 80% discharge. Under similar deep-discharge operating environments, the Encell Atlas 160 NiFe cycle life approaches 9,000 cycles. For a typical installation, this extended deep-discharge performance can result in a dramatic reduction in the number of batteries needed without compromising battery life.

The Encell Atlas 160 weighs 120 lbs and is packaged in the standard, front terminal configuration with maximum dimensions (5.3 x 22.3 x 13.0 in) similar to comparable VRLAs. High-end temperature ranges for both operation (100 degrees C) and storage (60 degrees C) exceed VRLA specs. Float charge battery life of the Atlas 160 is up to 20 years – several times longer than comparable VRLAs.

When energy available over the entire cycle life of a battery is considered, the Atlas 160 product cost is one-tenth that of a lead acid battery with similar name plate capacity.

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