Energy Storage Options: Different Kinds of Batteries

battery solar

Batteries are part of our everyday life. A day won’t go by without us using our mobile phones. We use the remote control to switch the channels in our television. Our flashlights, laptops, power banks, cars and other electronic devices use batteries to function properly. Even solar panels in the Philippines use batteries, where they store the energy they collect from the sun. To sum everything up, we unconsciously bump with batteries in everyday events.

Types of batteries

There are two types of batteries: disposable and rechargeable. They contain two different kinds of cells. Primary cells make the power in ordinary, disposable batteries while secondary cells power rechargeable batteries.

Primary cells

A primary cell is a battery that is designed to be used once and discarded. They cannot be recharged and reused like secondary cells because the electrochemical reaction occurring in the cell is not reversible, making the cell not rechargeable. They usually have a higher capacity and initial voltage compared to rechargeable batteries. These batteries are more suited for use in low-drain devices like alarm clocks, smoke detectors, remote controls, and hearing aids. Some examples of disposable batteries are zinc-chloride, alkaline, and button cells.

Secondary cells

A secondary cell is a battery that can be recharged. They are more cost-efficient especially on the long run, although individual batteries are more expensive. Unlike primary cells, secondary cells have a lower capacity and initial discharge. They are more suited for high-drain devices like mobile phones, laptops, camcorders, and toys. Some examples of rechargeable batteries are nickel cadmium, nickel metal hydride, lithium ion, and accumulators.

As mentioned above, solar panels do use batteries. These batteries have to meet the demands of unstable grid energy, heavy cycling (charging and discharging) and irregular full recharging. There’s a variety of battery types fitted for these unique requirements. Considerations for choosing a battery include cost, cycle life and installation and maintenance.

 

The most widely used are deep-cycle, lead-acid batteries because they have a low cost of ownership and a long, reliable life. There are two types of deep-cycle battery technologies:

Deep-Cycle Flooded Lead Acid (FLA) Batteries

These are the most popular type in use today in renewable energy systems. They contain an electrolyte which fully submerges the pates of the battery. Some benefits of using flooded batteries are lower cost, longer life, easy maintenance and a long, proven history of use.

Deep-Cycle Valve-Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA) Batteries

These batteries include AGM (absorbent glass mat) and gel technologies, which are designed to eliminate the need for water addition. They can be used and installed in any position. VRLA batteries do not require constant maintenance but still need cleaning and regular functional testing.

Importance of batteries

Portability is what makes batteries so important. It would be so difficult and troublesome if all of our devices are only functional when plugged in an electrical outlet. The convenience brought by batteries led to the invention of more gadgets, appliances and equipment that make heavy use of them. While we can only fully appreciate the use of batteries when electricity goes out, that’s not all they’re good for. They allow us to operate our laptop, hand phones, mp3 players and alarm clocks wherever we are, no matter what the situation is. Just remember to keep your batteries charged at all times.

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