Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Utility wants to deploy largest grid battery ever

This story is all about "green washing" and corporate criminals that want to take advantage of new public moneys.

Basically we are looking at a power company and a lithium ion battery manufacturer making huge sums of money through grants from the Dept of Energy. What they fail to mention is that lithium ion batteries are only good for about 2 to 3 years and then they have to be replaced. So, it isn't just a one time grant. It is an ongoing cell replacement scenario. Why put some awesome, lightweight, high density batteries in a warehouse that could just as easily house cheaper lead acid batteries? The most effective recycling program in the world has been the recycling of lead acid batteries. About 98% effective. And large cells like in forklifts can last 10 to 20 years. Lithium ion is great for laptops, drills, cars and scooters because they take up very little space and they are lightweight. In a huge factory size doesn't really matter and, of course, neither does the weight.

But, really, why use batteries at all for this scenario? Wind and hydro can take up slack in the grid system all the way up to about 20%. And only then do you need to look into some backup system. And when and if we get to that point we could use other methods such as compressed air storage underground in abandoned gas wells. Or we could pump water up to the top of a hill and use hydroelectric at the low wind times.



  1. I have lithium ion batteries in all of my power tools and have gotten over 5 years trouble free service so far.

  2. That is because they aren't used very often. This is true for lead acid as well. Lets face it, lead acid is WAYYYYY cheaper and has a better and cheaper recycling program. And why have expensive, small and lightweight batteries in a warehouse? Li-ion is great for mobile applications though.