|Edison started the Edison Storage Battery Co in the early 1900's and produced Nickel Iron batteries mainly for forklifts, the mining industry, railways, lighting, electric vehicles and back up power storage.
Thomas Edison is credited for inventing the Nickel Iron battery in the late 1800's.
Thomas Edison started the Edison Storage Battery in the early 1900's to develop and manufacture Nickel Iron batteries. These batteries were produced for mining, railways, forklifts, electric vehicles, switchgear tripping and closing, marine (including submarine), aircraft and miliatry applications.
The Edison Storage Battery Company was bought by Exide in 1972 where the production of the NiFe battery was stopped in 1975.
The Australian Defence Forces commonly used Nickel Iron batteries in the Army, Navy and Airforce from the mid 1940's to the mid 1970's where due to the discontinutaion of the manufacturing, nickel iron batteries were no longer available.
Most Australian State Government owned railways used Nickel Iron Batteries as standard in their operations however the same problem with availability, stopped any further purchases.
Over a period of time the knowledge that a simple replacement of the electrolyte would rejunivate the battery was lost and as such all Nickel Iron battery banks were disposed of once they were no longer able to store power. The cost to replace the electrolyte was and still is significantly less expensive than replacing with the commonly used lead acid battery.
In the Daintree areas of Queensland, self sufficient lifestyles has created an environmental problem revolving around the disposal of lead acid batteries. Lead acid battery has a limited life of usually between 4 - 6 years in that environment and as lead is toxic to the environment and people, disposal is becomming a major issue.
FACTS ON NICKEL IRON BATTERIES
Some original Edison Nickel Iron Cells are still being use today (these batteries are over 80 years old).
Buying a Nickel Iron battery means once bought, you have it for life.
Ni (Nickel) Fe (Iron) battery cell plates are made from nickel and iron (not lead or other dangerous metals), making them the most environmentally friendly battery on the market.
They do not contain acid or produce any corrosive gases when charged.
Nickle Iron Batteries are made up of individual cells which means you can make up any combination of voltage and or amp/hrs.
In most batteries if one cell fails the battery will need to be replaced, with NiFe batteries if one cell fails you are able to replace it with a new cell while still using the battery.
You can add cells (or remove cells) at any time to suit your battery capacity or voltage requirements.
All NiFe batteries are rechargeable and accept and withstand overcharge and over-discharge (extreme deep cycle), have an average efficiency of around 80% over their entire life (depending on the system set up) and can remain discharged for long periods without damage. Lead Acid batteries need to be stored in a charged state.
Temperature has effect on all batteries performance however temperature does not effect the life or the storage ability of a NiFe battery.
The cells are made up of Iron plates with a rigid plastic transparent casing for viewing electrolyte levels. The entire battery is recyclable.
NiFe batteries can be used for:
Railways, Mining (including underground), Telecommunications, Forklifts, Stockpickers, Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), Solar storage and power, Back up power supply, Electric cars, Electric vehicles (golf buggies,walky stackers etc), Stand alone electric systems, Motorhomes, Caravans, Spotlight shooting and numerous other applications.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why buy a Nickel Iron Battery?
- They have the longest life of any rechargeable battery made today
- They have withstood the test of time (some of Edison’s original batteries are still working today 80 years+)
- Environmentally friendly green technology battery (no lead, mercury, cadmium or other toxic heavy metals)
- Efficiency of the battery is constantly around 80% over its entire life (based on system set up)
- Costs less per amp hour than any other battery (based on the life of the battery)
- Does not SULFATE
- Does not FREEZE
- If the battery stops holding its charge you can easily rejuvenate it by a simple electrolyte change
- The electrolyte is alkaline (the alkaline electrolyte protects the internals of the battery, unlike acid batteries)
- No need to do frequent equalization charges
- Old technology that today’s technology cannot beat in life cycles
- You can replace one cell if it fails (most other batteries you need to replace the entire battery)
- The entire battery is recyclable
- Extremely strong and durable
How long can I expect my nickel iron batteries to last?
No one knows how long a nickel iron battery will last for as some of the original batteries manufactured by Thomas Edison’s battery storage company are still in use today.
The new wave of nickel iron batteries have been manufactured for over 30 years and are still in use today, still producing one hundred percent of their rated capacity. Ironcore batteries believe NiFe batteries have the possibility of many years in excess of the 40 years and by replacing the electrolyte when the battery is taking longer to charge or no longer holds its rated capacity.
What is the electrolyte made up of?
The electrolyte is Potassium Hydroxide mixed with distilled or de-ionized water.Water makes up around 70% of the electrolyte. Electrolyte replacement is inexpensive when compared to battery replacement. Nickel iron batteries like to be worked and thrive on hard work and cycling. If the battery is not producing its rated capacity its time for an electrolyte replacement.
What is a Nickel Iron cell?
A nickel Iron cell is made up of several pockets, each made of finely perforate strips and filled with active material and are mechanically manufactured to form a rectangular shape and then trimmed with steel frames to make a sheet – like plate. The plates are assembled and are separated and insulated from each other by means of plastic rod separators and/or edge insulators.
What is a Nickel Iron (NiFe) battery?
Nickel Iron batteries are made up from individual cells.
Each cell has a nominal voltage of 1.2 volts. No matter the size of the cell, all Nickel Iron cells are 1.2volts.
To make a battery, you add cells together until you get the voltage you require.
6 Volts = 5 x 1.2volt cells
12 Volts = 10 x 1.2volt cells
24 Volts = 20 x 1.2volt cells
48 Volts = 40 x 1.2volt cells
The advantage of making a battery up from individual cells is that if one cell fails, you replace that cell.
You can add to your battery bank at any time with Nickel Iron batteries if you need to store more power. This cannot be done with lead acid batteries without reducing the life of the new batteries.
What type of battery charger do I use?
You can either use a separate manual battery charger or an inverter with a built in battery charger. The battery likes to be charged between 1.6 and 1.75 volts per cell. (12Volt ~ 16 - 17.5volts, 24volt ~ 32 – 35volts etc)
I have a solar system, do I have to use a charge controller with Nickel Iron batteries?
NO you do not have to use a charge controller on these batteries as these batteries can be overcharged without damage. The higher and frequent charges will require 2 - 4 electrolyte checks per year with electrolyte a maximum of 2 top ups per year.
How efficient are these batteries?
The NiFe battery has an efficiency of around 80%. A new battery requires to be fully cycled a number of times to obtain it rated capacity. It can take up to 50 cycles for this to occur.
Can they be used with renewable energy systems (Solar or Wind)
A Nickel Iron battery over its life will be more efficient than most other batteries as most batteries efficiency reduces dramatically nearing the end of their life.
YES! Most popular inverters can be used with NIFE batteries including maximum power point tracker (MPPT).
Most common inverters are set for a lead acid battery working range of 11.5 volts to 13.5 volts in a 12volt system.
A NIFE battery has a working range of 9.5 volts to 17 volts in 12 volt system meaning you have more usable stored power than most other batteries on the market.
Please contact us if you are not sure about your inverters ability to use the working range of a NIFE battery.
Maintenance of the batteries?
Maintaining the batteries is as simple as making sure the cell tops are clean from dust or dirt and kept dry. Washing them once a year assists this. Maintaining the water level in the battery is vitally important. You can either manually add water or with an automatic battery watering fill system.
Can I store them without use over a long period of time?
Yes they can be stored for a long time without use or the need to be trickle charged. Ideally if you are not going to use the battery for as extended period, they prefer to be totally discharged and emptied of electrolyte. Then when you need to re use them just refill the electrolyte and charge them back up and they will perform as they did prior to the storing them.