Aquion Batteries?

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  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 4,822 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Aquion Batteries?

    What will happen , with that high end voltage, while doing an EQ if it is needed? Your inverter would shut down, no? Also is that the top end for regular charge or the stack top end Voltage?
     
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  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,756 admin
    Re: Aquion Batteries?

    Also check the surge capacity of the Aquion Batteries--I seem to recall when I last read about them that they do not surge current nearly as well as Lead Acid and lithium batteries. May be an issue for off grid usage when using loads with high surge current (well pumps, etc.).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • northernernortherner Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Aquion Batteries?
    westbranch wrote: »
    What will happen , with that high end voltage, while doing an EQ if it is needed? Your inverter would shut down, no? Also is that the top end for regular charge or the stack top end Voltage?

    I don't believe EQ's are required for AHI batteries, but you likely have a point about the top end charging voltage. That is why I'm interested in seeing charging curves.
  • northernernortherner Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Aquion Batteries?
    BB. wrote: »
    Also check the surge capacity of the Aquion Batteries--I seem to recall when I last read about them that they do not surge current nearly as well as Lead Acid and lithium batteries. May be an issue for off grid usage when using loads with high surge current (well pumps, etc.).

    -Bill

    Good point Bill. I think it would be necessary to size the AHI battery bank for the loads you are planning, much like you would do for a FLA battery system. But a high surge load when the battery is at a lower state of charge could cause a problem with dropping the battery voltage below the inverter minimum, and thus kicking it out.

    I am considering going the AHI route when it comes to battery replacement time (which will be coming up sooner rather than later unfortunately). I am actually considering putting in a separate small LiFePo4 battery bank, there to boost the low end voltage, and only when needed (ie when there is a heavy load that drops the voltage below a preset level). That should solve the low voltage problem with AHI batteries for my application.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,756 admin
    Re: Aquion Batteries?

    I would talk worth Magnum Inverter company about these batteries and see what they can do.

    If the batteries have higher internal resistance, the relatively short hours per day of solar charging may make deep discharge and quick solar recharging near impossible.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • northernernortherner Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Aquion Batteries?
    BB. wrote: »
    I would talk worth Magnum Inverter company about these batteries and see what they can do.

    If the batteries have higher internal resistance, the relatively short hours per day of solar charging may make deep discharge and quick solar recharging near impossible.

    -Bill

    I was thinking of using a battery of 12 Aquion S20 stacks (28.8 kwh total) would be more than sufficient to meet my needs, and equivalent to my current storage of lead acid batteries.

    My current PV is a 2.8 kw array, which works out to be somewhere between 4 and 5 amps per stack, and RTE (round trip efficiency) of the AHI stacks is about 85% at that current level. Less than 4 hours would be required to meet my daily needs, and that's in mid winter, worst case scenario. The Aquion stacks can accept up 12 amps per stack, over double my current requirements.

    If the projected cost reduction that Aquion states holds true (as well as their specifications about the battery), the AHI battery will be close to half the overall expense of FLA batteries. Worth the gamble IMO.
  • SolaRevolutionSolaRevolution Solar Expert Posts: 407 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Aquion Batteries?
    toothy wrote: »
    Hello SolaRev

    I'm pretty sure inverter surge capacity is what these batteries REALLY don't want.

    Wade

    I'm not saying that I need much surge capacity because of large loads. I'm thinking that since the inverter has capacitance that can help with surges won't it also help by providing some amount of surge current while "smoothing" out the draw from the battery?

    I'm hoping that it may help provide more head room before LVD if a motor (i.e. garbage disposal, power tool, etc..) is started while the batteries are at a partial SOC.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,756 admin
    Re: Aquion Batteries?

    Generally, the inverter capacitors are there to support a 1/2 cycle of power. Not for a second or two of surge.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • SolaRevolutionSolaRevolution Solar Expert Posts: 407 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Aquion Batteries?

    Hmm,

    What is it then that makes 'high surge" inverters so much better able to handle motor starting than non high surge?

    For "high surge" I'm thinking XW, GS, ME...

    For "low surge" I'm thinking SW, FM, ???
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,121 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Aquion Batteries?
    Hmm,

    What is it then that makes 'high surge" inverters so much better able to handle motor starting than non high surge?

    For "high surge" I'm thinking XW, GS, ME...

    For "low surge" I'm thinking SW, FM, ???
    Mainly that the output power elements are designed to handle a significantly higher amperage than their "normal" value with heat sinking that can absorb the heat of a short term overload without the semiconductors getting too hot. And as a result of that design, the protection on the output elements combines an instantaneous absolute current limit with a relatively high value and thermal current limiting based on how high the temperature of the output elements actually gets.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Aquion Batteries?

    And a big transformer.
  • donsdons Registered Users Posts: 1
    Almost a yr later and the price is the same, supplier claims to have only 6 on hand. I have a place in Costa Rica where its 30 cents per kWh. Fortunately I am in the mountains and dont need much power, but a lot of beach areas need solar because of the high cost. The government (ICE) has cut off solar permitting so the only new option is off grid or use the grid only as a back up (switched). I have a small solar installer company in CR.  Anyone have any new info as to how these batteries are working? Charging issues?
  • TulumtamTulumtam Solar Expert Posts: 34 ✭✭
    I just bought a set of 10 S-20 battery stacks and am getting everything ready to import them into Mexico.  The installation is scheduled for November and is for a remote off-grid residence.  I have a small solar company in Mexico and I have found Aquion Energy to be very patient in helping me wrap my head around sizing an off-grid system using these batteries, figuring out the best way to configure different charge controllers and how they can handle loads.  Once I have them installed, I will be able to provide more meaningful information about their performance.

    We chose these batteries for a number of reasons, a big one being higher tolerance for high ambient temperatures.  In this tropical climate, you are doing good to get anything more than 5 years from a set of L16s.  So if the these batteries end up costing about double the cost of lead acid batteries, but can cycle 3,000-6,000 times, then the cost and lower power density are not so important.  That they are also not hazardous materials, need no maintenance and can be discharged 100% without damaging them are all huge added benefits!  I very much hope they live up to the claims.  Time will tell.
  • toothytoothy Registered Users Posts: 21 ✭✭✭

    I bit the bullet and put in 16 stacks in the beginning of June and basically forgot about them until recently.

    What I've learned so far:

    Love the never having to babysit them, the  install was simple. Must be kept and transported within 5 deg of vertical if I recall correctly.

    You MUST have gen auto start or you'll wake up without power. I didn't do it but was amazed by the fall off at the lower voltage levels. At 46+/- volts there is a cliff, I'm talking minutes to LBCO from there.

    We get lots of crap weather this time of year and the gen does run way more often than with the fla,s, but not for nearly as long. Since they don't require a full charge on a perfect schedule , or ever, I do a volt start at 46.5 and volt stop at 58. That is 1.5-2hrs run time pulling 5000+/- watts from the gen. If we get sun or wind they get full if not then its time for another run cycle.

    One thing, if I were using these in a very remote location I would want a way independent of the inverter or charge controller to add some juice to these things in case they wound up below the inverter/controller power up threshold. I haven't needed it but have an IOTA 48V charger that would work well. I believe the charger could be tiny like an LED power supply or something, just in case.

    I will know more in the spring, we haven't gotten cold yet so I don't know how they will like being a bit chilly.


    At this moment I'd do it again.


    Wade

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,756 admin
    Interesting. Thank you for the updates.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • MarkCMarkC Solar Expert Posts: 150 ✭✭✭
    Re: Aquion Batteries?

    I don't believe EQ's are required for AHI batteries, but you likely have a point about the top end charging voltage. That is why I'm interested in seeing charging curves.

    northerner;
    This is likely old information concerning the electrical characteristics of the (now being replaced) S-20's at this point, but if not:
    http://www.solarpanelsplus.com/solar-battery/

    Has anyone found info on the new S-30's?


    3850 watts - 14 - 275SW SolarWorld Panels, 4000 TL-US SMA Sunny Boy Grid tied inverter.  2760 Watts - 8 - 345XL Solar World Panels, 3000 TL-US SMA Sunny Boy GT inverter.   3000 watts SMA/SPS power.  PV "switchable" to MidNite Classic 250ks based charging of Golf cart + spare battery array of 8 - 155 AH 12V Trojans with an  APC SMT3000 - 48 volt DC=>120 Volt AC inverter for emergency off-grid.   Also, "PriUPS" backup generator with APC SURT6000/SURT003  => 192 volt DC/240 volt split phase AC inverter.  
  • halfcrazyhalfcrazy Solar Expert Posts: 717 ✭✭✭
    We are running 6 stacks of the new S-30s they replaced 6 of the S-20s on an offgrid system. The initial findings are the surge capavility increased by 30-40% (Non scientific) and that they have a higher acceptance to current. The one thing we are finding is that with the variable amperage available off grid you need to go for a bit longer on the absorb time. if the current is to high the absorb voltage is hit prematurely. End Amps should work perfectly though and that is what we are playing with now
  • KalJusKalJus Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭
    Hello @halfcrazy, thanks for sharing. I am heavily considering using 12 stacks of the S-30s (a M110). Hope you don't mind if I ask you some questions. What charge controller(s) are you using? What depth of discharge are you reaching? The system I am planning is: http://forum.solar-electric.com/discussion/comment/355115/#Comment_355115 . My biggest concern has been surge capability.

    Cheers!
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,252 ✭✭✭✭
    Keep in mind that the Inverter and the battery together are what determines surge capability. It is hard to beat a Split Phase XW inverter for surging. I happen to know Schneider is working on a new XW generation that will perform load automation to maximize self consumption. Finally! I have been really bugging them.

    I remember Ryan here was using an XW years back. 

    What do you have that needs a high surge? 5 HP Pump motors?
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭✭
    I happen to know Schneider is working on a new XW generation that will perform load automation to maximize self consumption.
    Isn't the self consumption already high enough?  --vtMaps   ;)
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,252 ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2016 #52
    Hee hee Yes Michael !  Two kinds, those who want it, and those who want more.

    It is stemming from a nice white paper they did because utilities (Australia) for instance) are nailing grid-tie with fees and so the battery based inverter systems will automate self consumption first and then sell. My very simplified take.

    The good news is some of this will filter into my offgrid dream of Smart grid for Offgrid.

     Automation of load usage without relays/solenoids and clunky IR remotes especially in cooling/heating/water pumping.

    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • CapowoodCapowood Registered Users Posts: 1
    toothy said:

    I bit the bullet and put in 16 stacks in the beginning of June and basically forgot about them until recently.

    What I've learned so far:

    Love the never having to babysit them, the  install was simple. Must be kept and transported within 5 deg of vertical if I recall correctly.

    You MUST have gen auto start or you'll wake up without power. I didn't do it but was amazed by the fall off at the lower voltage levels. At 46+/- volts there is a cliff, I'm talking minutes to LBCO from there.

    We get lots of crap weather this time of year and the gen does run way more often than with the fla,s, but not for nearly as long. Since they don't require a full charge on a perfect schedule , or ever, I do a volt start at 46.5 and volt stop at 58. That is 1.5-2hrs run time pulling 5000+/- watts from the gen. If we get sun or wind they get full if not then its time for another run cycle.

    One thing, if I were using these in a very remote location I would want a way independent of the inverter or charge controller to add some juice to these things in case they wound up below the inverter/controller power up threshold. I haven't needed it but have an IOTA 48V charger that would work well. I believe the charger could be tiny like an LED power supply or something, just in case.

    I will know more in the spring, we haven't gotten cold yet so I don't know how they will like being a bit chilly.


    At this moment I'd do it again.


    Wade

    Toothy, now that you have had them for about a year, can you give us an update on the Aquions?  How did they perform in colder weather?
  • supergroversupergrover Registered Users Posts: 1
    Any updates on how your aquions are performing ? I've got 7800w on a couple outback fm80s off grid and am thinking abt 8 stacks should do me well.
  • toothytoothy Registered Users Posts: 21 ✭✭✭
    Sorry for the lack of response but I have been ignoring my system, I like that. My batteries were replaced 1 yr ago for what was said to be a mfg defect. The new ones have been great then yesterday they declared chapter 11!  The first set showed signs pretty early, the new ones are doing well so far. I really hope they just couldn't run a business, which was the case for sure, as long as the technology holds up ......

    Wade
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,756 admin
    Ouch

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • toothytoothy Registered Users Posts: 21 ✭✭✭
    We all know, stuff happens, its just less fun when it happens on your head!
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 1,409 ✭✭✭✭
    Ouch indeed. Hopefully chapter 11 is to clear the decks of debt etc and something like a going concern will be sold.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,252 ✭✭✭✭
    Maybe you should cut your losses.  Batteries should not behave like this!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • toothytoothy Registered Users Posts: 21 ✭✭✭
    Dave,
    Were you talking to me? My first set were perfect from the June install until Novermberish when the gen started running and deeper discharges were occurring. My gen run time was decreasing from 2 hours down to 1 through the winter but I assumed it was temp related, however as temps went up run time continued down. They replaced them no hassles. 

    New set was installed last spring and have not had the same issues, yet. I did build them a heated insulated box, to 55 deg F, with a tank type engine heater and some pex using convective circulation. Works great.

    As to behavior the first set had really bad behavior, the new set can keep acting the way they do forever. If they keep doing things the way they have since last spring I couldn't be happier. 

    Wade
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,252 ✭✭✭✭
    edited March 12 #61
    I am talking to anyone who is an early adapter. Sometimes you have to cut your losses and move on.  

    Just read this below. Aquion is another failed company.

     Cutting-edge battery maker that received millions from taxpayers has become the latest government-backed energy firm to file for bankruptcy – reviving the controversy over how stimulus dollars were spent under the last administration. 

    Seven years after Aquion Energy received a $5.2 million stimulus-tied grant from the federal government, the Pennsylvania company on Wednesday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. 

    “Creating a new electrochemistry and an associated battery platform at commercial scale is extremely complex, time-consuming, and very capital intensive. Despite our best efforts to fund the company and continue to fuel our growth, the Company has been unable to raise the growth capital needed to continue operating as a going concern,” Scott Pearson, Aquion's outgoing CEO, said in a press release.  

    The company, which is now seeking a buyer, produces batteries to store solar and renewable energy. It had been touted as a rising star in the energy storage business, even attracting investment from Microsoft founder Bill Gates and millions more in state funding.

    In January, the company was named “the North American Company of the Year Award” at the annual Cleantech Forum in San Francisco, which “focuses on emerging trends, leading innovation companies, and key players in sustainable innovation.” 

    Suzanne Roski, the company's chief restructuring officer, did not respond to a request for comment from Fox News.  

    Critics say Aquion’s fate is further evidence the government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers.

    “Who thinks the Department of Energy has the expertise to predict which companies will succeed for fail in the marketplace, particularly in an industry that is not only dependent upon government subsidies, but is highly unpredictable?” said William Yeatman, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

    The company grew out of the work of Jay Whitacre, an engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He developed a successful design for a storage battery that would use only non-toxic, non-flammable chemicals, rather than the more flammable lithium batteries.

    Days before the company filed for Chapter 11, Whitacre was named the new director of the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation at Carnegie Mellon. 

    Aquion was awarded its federal grant in 2010. The Department of Energy issued the funding to build a large-scale battery manufacturing plant that would be located on the site of a former Sony facility in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

    Private investors flocked to the project.

    According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Aquion raised about $190 million from investors, including from Ray Lane, a former president of Oracle. 

    They began low-volume production in the summer of 2011, broke ground on full-scale manufacturing facility in 2012 and have been shipping commercially since mid-2014, according to its website.

    Two years later, Aquion Energy received $16.6 million in funds from the state of Pennsylvania, including two alternative clean energy loans totaling $5 million, to develop.

    As part of the agreement, Aquion committed to create 341 new jobs and retain 70 existing employees, according to Heidi Havens, communications director for Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

    In February 2016, the company requested a two-year extension to create the jobs promised. At that time, only 50 jobs had been created.

    The Westmoreland facility has since halted operations. 

    “This announcement is a reminder of the critical need to ensure that taxpayer dollars for economic development projects are spent appropriately and that intended outcomes are met,” Havens said in an email to Fox News.



    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

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