Jun 272012

Stanford University scientists have breathed new life into the nickel-iron battery, a rechargeable technology developed by Thomas Edison more than a century ago.

Designed in the early 1900s to power electric vehicles, the Edison battery largely went out of favor in the mid-1970s. Today only a handful of companies manufacture nickel-iron batteries, primarily to store surplus electricity from solar panels and wind turbines.

“The Edison battery is very durable, but it has a number of drawbacks,” said Hongjie Dai, a professor of chemistry at Stanford. “A typical battery can take hours to charge, and the rate of discharge is also very slow.”

Now, Dai and his Stanford colleagues have dramatically improved the performance of this century-old technology. The Stanford team has created an ultrafast nickel-iron battery that can be fully charged in about 2 minutes and discharged in less than 30 seconds. The results are published in the June 26 issue of the journal Nature Communications.

“We have increased the charging and discharging rate by nearly 1,000 times,” said Stanford graduate student Hailiang Wang, lead author of the study. “We’ve made it really fast.”

The high-performance, low-cost battery could some day be used to help power electric vehicles, much as Edison originally intended, Dai said. “Hopefully we can give the nickel-iron battery a new life,” he added.

Read more . . .

via Science Daily

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  One Response to “Scientists Spark New Interest in the Century-Old Edison Battery”

  1. This article is great because Nickel Iron batteries are finally getting the attention they deserve. I think there is a good battery for each specific application, so I am confident in saying that lead acid is not the best fit for a lot of current applications.

    A couple years ago, I started up Iron Edison, a company based around designing Nickel Iron battery backup systems for off-grid and residential applications. Today, Iron Edison has Nickel Iron battery systems functioning from Coast to Coast.

    • Nickel Iron features up to 85% available capacity, so you can draw the battery all the way down without any damage.
    • The plates in the battery do not degrade over time. The charge reaction is perfectly reversible, so there is no sulphation.
    • Expected life of 20+ years, with older examples still working well.
    • After 7-10 years, you can refresh the liquid electrolyte and renew the battery’s original capacity.

    I have Nickel Iron (NiFe) batteries available right now! These traditional flooded alkaline cells use the same Nickel and Iron plates to store huge amounts of energy. Today’s Nickel Iron batteries are some of the most resilient on the market, and can withstand wide temperature ranges and deep discharge with no problems.

    I would invite you to learn more about Nickel Iron (NiFe) battery technology online at IronEdison.com

    Search IRON EDISON and you can find me on Twitter and Facebook, we have tons of project photos online. Please give me a call if you want to talk about the Nickel Iron batteries.


    Brandon Williams
    Iron Edison Battery CEO

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