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View Diary: A Failed Experiment (136 comments)

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  •  A serious question (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ed in Montana, Egalitare, defluxion10

    I looked into generators not just as backup, but for permanent use at my place in the mountains due to the general unreliability of grid power up there and the costs of dealing with Code for a small retreat.  One of the things that eventually made me get hooked up to the grid anyway was consideration for long-term sustainability of ANY electric system I could put in.  Batteries for solar systems have to be maintained and have a maximum lifetime of five years.  Generators have to be fed, and that would mean fuel storage.  For remote areas with decaying infrastructure, the only sustainable energy systems are those that don't depend on road maintenance, and when they decide to stop maintaining roads in my neighborhood, we'll be down to mule teams within a month.

    •  Nickel–iron batteries might last 100 years (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      defluxion10

      Recently someone collected as many of Edison's original batteries as he could find. The average age was 85 years. Some were still in use when he found them. He re-conditioned those batteries and they worked with some allowance for aging.

      There are some caveats. You should consider properly sizing your battery stack. Although Ni-Fe batteries will withstand deep discharge, it affects battery life. With a 20% discharge cycle they're rated for 23 years. At a 100% discharge cycle they might not last for 3 years.

      They do require an electrolyte replacement at 7 to 10 year intervals depending on depth of discharge. The good news is that the potassium electrolyte is nontoxic and can be recycled as fertilizer.

      http://www.battcon.com/...

      Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

      by Just Bob on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 08:40:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for this (0+ / 0-)

        I just checked my comment stream and saw  your reply -- sorry I'm too late to rec it.  Info I had read on currently-used batteries had convinced me that the gel-pack type were the only practical kind for solar applications, but I'm definitely going to read this article all the way through.  The durability of these things is impressive!

    •  Go solar! No fuel needed. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW
      Generators have to be fed, and that would mean fuel storage.  For remote areas with decaying infrastructure, the only sustainable energy systems are those that don't depend on road maintenance....

      Renewable energy brings national global security.     

      by Calamity Jean on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 05:32:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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