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Placing Energy In A Battery Results In A Loss Of Power

Placing Energy In A Battery Results In A Loss Of Power

Anyone that thinks we can simply store huge amounts of energy in large banks of batteries to use at any time has lost touch with reality. The brave new world of energy storage may not prove to be all it is cracked up to be. At this point, and for the foreseeable future storing the power we need in batteries is just another part of the “green delusion” that has infected society.  We seldom think about it but the energy we put into a battery is not what we get out. There is a loss of energy in the transfer and during the time it is stored.

An article published on the naked scientists.com years ago states, not all of the energy which you use to charge a battery will come out of the battery in the end. That remains true today. If you look at the efficiency of charging standard, nickel cadmium, or nickel metal hydride battery, the efficiency is about 60 to 70%, so you’re wasting 30 or 40% of the energy you’re putting into the battery itself.

If you feel that a battery while it is being charged you will find it gets warm. This indicates energy is being wasted. You’re also wasting some more energy in the charger because the “transfer” is not 100% efficient either. So, you might be talking about half the energy you’re using actually ending up in that battery. While 60% efficiency doesn’t sound very good, it’s far, far better than what is achieved in a throw-away battery, they are often said to be only 1 or 2% efficient. That’s because you’ve got to get materials to make the battery, you’ve got to refine them, and you’ve got to put them all into a case.

Battery Charge/Discharge Efficiency
Li-ion 80% – 90%
Pb-Acid 50% – 92%
NiMH 66%
Table 1: Battery efficiencies [1-3]

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