Powering the Move Solutions gateway can be a challenge for remote locations. But what’s the RIGHT solution?
With the continual advancement of battery technology and green energy options, is price the right driver for the decision making or does saving cost at the point of purchase simply incur additional costs during the lifetime of the system’s Installation?
Let’s explore some of the options and hidden costs associated with off-grid power installations.
Sealed Lead Acid Batteries (SLA) v. Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries (LiFePo04).
Let’s start with the basic commercials. Yes, LiFePo04 batteries are significantly more expensive than equivalent rated SLA batteries. A 100Ah SLA battery can be purchased for around £100-200. An equivalent rated LiFePo04 battery is closer to £900. So surely the choice is a no brainer.
If we‘re choosing between two Pink Lady apples then this might be true, but with these different battery technologies there a is a little more to consider. Let’s start with the battery power capacity. After 200 or so charge cycles the SLA battery is likely to have lost 20% of its original storage capacity. This same loss of power capacity will take the LiFePo04 battery somewhere around 2,200 charge cycles. This may not seem like a particularly key factor but let’s explore the other considerations.
It is also important to note the loss in power output as batteries deplete. A lead acid battery continues to loose voltage output as it depletes. At 60% capacity the lead acid battery will drop below 12v output meaning that in most installations only 40-50% of the batteries capacity can be realised. In comparison a LiFePo04 battery will continue to delivery 12v until over 90% depleted.
One of the most critical factors to consider is the temperature range that the batteries will be operating in. At 0°C a lead acid battery’s performance will drop significantly. A reduction in battery life per charge of approx 50% can be expected. This can also be a major factory when linked to solar panels for recharge. If a lead acid battery is losing 50% of its life expectancy per charge at low temperatures then the need for a greater investment in solar supply is required. In comparison at the same operating temperature a LiFePo04 battery will maintain 90% of its Performance per charge reducing the need for additional solar supply or more frequent recharging.
To put this in to real world terms, a lead acid 100Ah battery expected to deliver 2 weeks power to a 12v gateway operating in an environment below 5°C will lose 50% of its performance and will deliver below 12v at 60% depletion. Therefore the expected 14 day power duration will be reduced to approximately 4 days. During a field test of our Off-grid lead acid 100Ah power system located in East Yorkshire during November ’21 this is exactly the performance that was achieved.
So what are the other factors to consider in the comparison?
Weight? Well SLA batteries are on average 55% heavier that their LiFePo04 equals and this may present a challenge if the battery installation is not able to be placed on the ground or batteries have to be carried to their installation location. The SLA battery’s weight is likely to incur additional cost in the strength of materials needed for fixings. The lighter LiFePo04 battery‘s can be suspended with more cost effective options and transported more easily.
Due to the many factors to consider with regards to the challenges of each individual project, Dyna-mo Instruments have developed both lead acid and LiFePo04 power systems to support Move Solutions installations. We would always recommend adopting LiFePo04 power systems but appreciate that often the purchase price can be a deciding factor in which option to select.
We develop integrated solutions to solve your installation challenges so please get in touch if you have a specific need or question for us to solve.
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