I'm curious to see if anyone's tried using nickel-iron batteries as a house bank.
From a technical standpoint, they appear to have some advantages:
- Near infinite cycle life (there are early 1900s NiFe packs still in use that still test at 100% of their original capacity)
- Not damaged by overcharging or deep discharging
- Electrolyte (potassium hydroxide) may be less nasty than sulphuric acid, and off-gassing products apparently don't include anything that would damage or wear out a hydrocap
But there are also notable downsides:
- They boil off electrolyte faster than Pb-acid cells, so need to be topped up more often
efficiency might not be all that great
- They are awfully pricey (about $4000 for a 12 V, 400 to 500 Ah bank, and that'll weigh something like 250 kg)
And there seem to be only a handful of commercial
suppliers, with little active development (most seem to be using drawings from an old Edison patent):
- Changhong (China), Nickel-lron(Ni-Fe)
- ZappWorks (Montana), Zapp Works - Nickel-Iron Batteries
- BeUtilityFree (which might be a rebranded Changhong), Nickel Iron Batteries - A Lifetime Battery For Your Off-Grid System (or On-Grid Backup)!
- Iron Edison (Colorado), Nickel-Iron Batteries at IronEdison.com
- Like most niche technologies, Ni-Fe cells have a fan club, nickel iron battery information
So... has anyone tried these on a boat, and with what results? Are there any more suppliers? Would there be much interest in them if they were more readily available?