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Understand the unique advantages of lead-acid batteries

2019-11-01

The early gelled lead-acid batteries developed by Sonnenschein (Germany) in the 1950s were popular in the 1970s. Mixing sulfuric acid with a silica gelling agent converts the liquid electrolyte into a semi-hard paste, leaving the gel maintenance free. The AGMs that came out in the early 1980s have similar properties to gels, but each system has slightly different characteristics to meet unique market needs. Colloidal batteries are commonly used in large and small uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), while AGM opens the market for starters and deep cycle applications. The colloid and AGM batteries are part of the VRLA series, which makes traditional immersion lead acid maintenance free.


Lithium-ion batteries are used to deploy energy storage systems (ESS) for frequency regulation and energy buffering. Unlike lead acid, lithium ions can be quickly charged when there is too much energy available. UPSs typically live in a fully charged environment with only occasional discharges, while lithium ions in the ESS can operate at intermediate charging conditions of 40% to 60% without causing sulfation. Due to economic cost, durability and superior safety, UPS for standby applications continues to be serviced by lead-acid batteries, which are used at the best price for recycling.


Gel batteries typically last longer than AGM. Improving heat transfer to the outside world is one of the reasons. (The gel separator transfers heat, while the AGM's absorbent glass mat acts as an insulator.) Another advantage of the gel is the dome-shaped performance curve that maintains the high performance of the battery for most of its useful life. Then quickly fall down. At the end of life, AGM has gradually disappeared.


It is well known that gels have good performance at high ambient temperatures and are less susceptible to sulfation than other systems, but they require proper charging and float charging. In contrast, AGM has excellent current transfer performance at low temperatures due to its low internal resistance. The gel is said to have a larger number of cycles than AGM, and the secret of its design is to keep more acid. Gel batteries are not used for high current applications due to high internal resistance.


One of the secrets of a constructed gel battery is the construction of the valve. The valve used in the small economy gel battery consists of EPDM rubber (EPDM stands for ethylene monomer). The high quality large gel battery used at high and low temperatures uses a finer valve design to increase moisture retention.


In terms of suitability and cost, overflow lead acid is the most durable when used in standby operations, but it is also the most expensive and requires supplemental water for maintenance. Glue is cheaper than filling and is the battery of choice for UPS installations in communications. The cost of AGM is very low and it is also excellent in the load capacity of the gel. Both systems have bright prospects and will continue to be used in alternative applications that require limited depth cycling.


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