Lead-Crystal Batteries, And Can They Compete With Lithium?

A.Justice

Swears he didn't start that fire.
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Stumbled onto Green Rhino Energy's site earlier today, and saw some interesting claims in the FAQ.
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-Can a Crystal Battery™ be discharged a 100% Depth of Discharge?

Yes, Crystal Batteries™ can be discharged in full frequently, even to 0 Volt. This makes Crystal Batteries™ extremely resilient for deep discharging. Deep discharging will reduce the cycle life.

-Do Crystal Batteries™ charge faster than lead acid, lead gel or AGM batteries?

Yes, Crystal Batteries™ can be charged up to 3C (In Boost for short periods) without any impact on their cycle life. This means they can be charged 2-3 faster than other batteries. Standard charging requires 0.3C for GRGS, GRLS, GRFT range and 0.2C for GREV Range.

-Do Crystal Batteries™ sulphate?

Due to the construction and chemical reaction inside a Crystal Batteries™, sulfation hardly ever occurs. Crystal Batteries™ contain less sulphuric acid. They do not contain toxins such as cadmium or antimony either.

-What is the lifespan of Crystal batteries™?

Crystal Batteries™ have a design life of 18 years. For Cycle life check our data sheets and catalog for specific information.
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To me, these seem very competitive to lithium cells (except for the weight). No 50% discharge limits, no sulfation, 0 volt recovery, up to 3c fast charging, and an 18 year calendar life.

I'm a LiFePO4 guy, but depending on cost, I might consider these for a stationary system.

Does anyone have any experience or opinions on cells like this? I'm sure some of the claims are exaggerated for advertising, and I did catch where it said that "deep discharging will reduce cycle life", but if they really perform like they say, and retain the lower cost of Pb vs Li batteries, I imagine that they will be the "next generation" of lead batteries.

 

Substrate

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Look beyond the marketing and ask these questions:

Q: How is the ability to be taken down to 0 volts useful, when your inverter or other dc powered systems are going to start to fail at 11.7v ?

A: This is only an advantage if you don't use any sort of low-voltage disconnect, and are driving dc loads that have no minimum voltage dependency for decent operations. So if you aren't using an LVD of some sort, you may be able to bring them back without damage. Or if not using any LVD, your dc-powered stuff may start failing or acting strangely at very low voltage levels. Notice how they don't recommend cycling to zero volts - just that you can recover from it. So don't let that happen.

Q: Why does the marketing material talk about faster charging?

A: It is because they are marketing the speed against conventional *flooded* batteries and their chemistry, typically rated for no more than 0.1C charge. Note the careful avoidance of comparing to agm when talking about faster charging.

Q: Ah, so what are any possible advantages in the real world when you brush away the marketing?

A: Since going low-voltage is not of any real value with dc-loads protected by an LVD (like an inverter's 10.7 or 11.7v trip), and the advanced charge rate of say 0.3C is similar to agm, the whole deal to the chemistry that could be useful is the resistance against sulfation.

So - since it is very hard to actually fully charge that last 1% of an agm's capacity with either an extended CV, or long 8-12 hour float in a daily cyclic solar routine, an agm will typically get "walked down" in capacity due to hard sulfation of that last 1% not getting charged over and over.

Here, if someone were to concentrate solely upon the sulfation resistance, then a lead-crystal battery may make sense in a daily cyclic solar application.

I wouldn't mind testing some, but frankly, their marketing turns me off - then again it is primarily for an unknowing consumer audience.
 
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PerryB67

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We went from 220ah of AGM's to 260ah's of Soneil's Silicon Dioxide (SiO2, or lead crystal) batteries.

The difference with charging SiO2 vs AGM was quite dramatic. Our SiO2's charged much, much faster with the same 170 watt GoPower solar panel. In the winter in Arizona, the GoPower PWM SCC would get to 100% nearly every day with the SiO2's, but only perhaps four times a month with the AGM's.

These results were for the first month with the SiO2's, before I installed a Victron 100/30 SCC, and recently added 300 watts to the roof, so I can no longer make reliable comparisons. We also have a Victron BMV-712 to monitor our use and to help catch any problems.

2-4 hours after the sun goes down the SiO2 is around 13.1. After a night of using around 30 ah's, mainly for the furnace, we'll wake up with 12.85 to 12.9 volts.

Before buying the Soneil's I talked to Battleborn. They didn't want charging below 32F and suggested not to draw power below 5F. That wouldn't work for us and was the reason why SiO2 was a better alternative. YMMV. Now Battleborn has a heated battery that might have worked for us if it was available when we needed new batteries.

We're very happy with the Soneil SiO2 batteries and have yet to get them below 80% SOC. Our camper sits without 120 power until we leave in January. One year it was -10F for the two days we loaded the camper to leave south. Lithium won't handle that situation. We want the camper warm before we leave and without a power pole available our batteries have to run the furnace.

Because of their weight, lead crystal batteries will never become a main player, but for a few of us they currently are a better choice than lithium. Do I recommend lead crystal for everyone? No! In the last year, on my recommendations, one friend has a single Battleborn and another has two Renogy lithiums, but for them I did not even begin to sell them SiO2's when lithium would be a better choice for their use.

Enjoy,

Perry
 
Last edited:

A.Justice

Swears he didn't start that fire.
Joined
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We went from 220ah of AGM's to 260ah's of Soneil's Silicon Dioxide (SiO2, or lead crystal) batteries.

The difference with charging SiO2 vs AGM was quite dramatic. Our SiO2's charged much, much faster with the same 170 watt GoPower solar panel. In the winter in Arizona, the GoPower PWM SCC would get to 100% nearly every day with the SiO2's, but only perhaps four times a month with the AGM's.

These results were for the first month with the SiO2's, before I installed a Victron 100/30 SCC, and recently added 300 watts to the roof, so I can no longer make reliable comparisons. We also have a Victron BMV-712 to monitor our use and to help catch any problems.

2-4 hours after the sun goes down the SiO2 is around 13.1. After a night of using around 30 ah's, mainly for the furnace, we'll wake up with 12.85 to 12.9 volts.

Before buying the Soneil's I talked to Battleborn. They didn't want charging below 32F and suggested not to draw power below 5F. That wouldn't work for us and was the reason why SiO2 was a better alternative for us. YMMV. Now Battleborn has a heated battery that might have worked for us if it was available when we needed new batteries.

We're very happy with the Soneil SiO2 batteries and have yet to get them below 80% SOC. Our camper sits without 120 power until we leave in January. One year it was -10F for the two days we loaded the camper to leave south. Lithium won't handle that situation. We want the camper warm before we leave and without a power pole available our batteries have to run the furnace.

Because of their weight, lead crystal batteries will never become a main player, but for a few of us they currently are a better choice than lithium. Do I recommend lead crystal for everyone? No! In the last year, on my recommendations, one friend of mine has a single Battleborn and another has two Renogy lithiums, but for them I did not even begin to sell them SiO2's when lithium would be a better choice for their use.

Enjoy,

Perry
I appreciate your experience! The biggest selling point for me of lead-anything batteries is the low-temp charging, and no need for complex electronics like a BMS. I could see why a cold-dweller would make the choice.

It rarely gets below 20°F here, so heating pads and LiFePO4 are, for me, the better choice.
 

idrisalan

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Dec 30, 2021
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In 2018 I bought 8 x 6V 200 amp lead Crystal Batteries, so that should have given me about 9Kwhrs of storage capacity. These batteries are being charged from two 4KW MPP PIP MS inverter chargers. Sometimes the mains kicks in and also charges them. Physically they are in excellent condition. After 4 years they are stuffed. I then went on line and noticed I could not make contact with "Betta Batteries" they simply vanished.
Then I came across how you had to charge them. The You Tube site said you had to charge then at 2/3 of their rated capacity which is 120 amps!!
This make them useless in most solar systems, 48V at 120 amps is not far off 6KW, Most times Solar panels would be putting out only half of their rated capacity, so I would need 12KW peak solar panels. These batteries have cost me $5000 Australian.
They are a SCAM, the supplier I bought then from also got conned.
As Elon Musk as said many times there is too much bullshit regarding batteries. I am going to go for the LiFePO4 batteries, of course you must be carful here with the BMS systems. I am going to do a load test on these batteries to see if some how I can bring them back to life.
 
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