Below is a summary of some of the differences between the SoNick battery and other battery technologies.
SoNick will not catch fire
The SoNick battery cannot catch fire or explode. It is the only chemistry UL9540A certified for safety from thermal runaway. This means no risk of fire or explosion, even in the presence of external fire.
All lithium-ion batteries have the potential to catch fire. Depending on the particular lithium-ion technology and safety features included with the battery, the ignition point may change, i.e. the ignition point for lithium ion phosphate is higher than that for lithium manganese cobalt.
If a battery installation is situated next to a building and the battery catches fire it is quite possible for the whole building to be burnt as a result of the difficulties associated with extinguishing lithium-ion fires. Also, when lithium batteries catch fire toxic fumes are given off.
SoNick capacity doesn’t degrade over service life
The SoNick battery doesn’t degrade over its service life. After 10 years you should still be operating at your original capacity.
During summer, when you have an energy storage system on your house, as long as it is sized correctly and you have enough solar PV, you should always be able to fill your batteries to full capacity on a daily basis. You will probably generate excess electricity and export it to the grid, although you will rarely be paid enough to justify this as a useful use of your green energy production system.
In summer, you can generally just ignore your energy storage system and it will cover as much of your power needs as you have designed the system to provide.
However, in winter the situation changes as the hours of solar generation decrease and the sun is lower in the sky, so often produces less PV generation on your solar panels. This is particularly relevant when you have several days in a row of rainy and / or cloudy weather with little to no PV generation. In order to maximise the solar PV available and get the most use from your batteries it may be a good idea to change the way your battery is utilised.
Instead of only filling your battery from solar which is the cheapest and most environmentally friendly way to fill a household battery you can fill it using off-peak power then using the battery system to provide electricity to your house during peak power usage times, often 3 – 9pm each day. Not as good as charging the battery with the sun but better than paying peak electricity rates.
As the world moves towards electrifying the transport system with the utilisation of electric cars, scooters, busses, trains etc. we need to make sure we take into account the inherent dangers of lithium-ion batteries.
It is not uncommon for lithium-ion batteries to catch fire while charging whether they are in phones, computers, work tools, house batteries or electric vehicles. There are many instances of houses and businesses being burnt due to these fires.
One of the issues with lithium-ion battery fires is the temperatures the fire will quickly get to (excess of 1000oC) and the speed with which the fire will spread to anything adjoining it. The biggest issue is that fire brigades are unable to easily extinguish a lithium-ion battery fire. All they can really do is protect surrounding assets to prevent the fire spreading.
This domestic installation was designed to run as a grid minimisation installation. Although the grid remains connected it is rarely used.
This is an area with frequent power outages, often for many days so the ability to have power in an off-grid installation when the grid wasn’t available was a major requirement.
Sodium Nickel Chloride (SoNick) batteries were selected as they have the highest energy density of any batteries and are completely safe with no off-gassing or fire risk, meaning there are no safety issues with installing the batteries. As the SoNick batteries operate with no temperature effects and no degradation from -20°C to +60°C there are no issues with either heat or freezing temperatures that are often experienced and the batteries don’t require air conditioning to keep them cool or heaters to heat them enough for them to work.
Lithium-ion batteries weren’t considered due to the difficulty in recycling lithium batteries at end of life and to their inherent fire risk.
Portable commercial office running in off grid situation.
Situated at a crushing plant used to crush concrete blocks for road fill. The portable office is placed near the weighbridge which didn’t have a grid connection to that particular part of site. Connecting to the grid was going to be very expensive and the portable off-grid hut was a perfect solution.
Battery usually discharges to around 50 – 60% capacity each day and is generally fully charged by 12 to 2pm each day.
Installation was easy as batteries could be installed anywhere in the office. As the SoNick battery doesn’t have any gasses given off no special enclosures were needed, unlike lead acid batteries which are what would have been used in this situation previously and would have needed a special room to contain gassing.
Most people that are looking at installing an energy storage system (battery and battery inverter) don’t realise that every installation is different and there is no one size fits all. Installations are very dependent on whether there is already solar PV in place and the current electrical wiring situation at the premises.
When you decide to connect a battery energy storage system to your already installed solar panels there are things that need to be considered that may not become apparent until the actual installation is to take place. These may make installing the battery system much more difficult, costly and time consuming but actually has nothing to do with the actual battery system itself.
When a house is built an electrician will have wired the house and hopefully the wiring meets current electrical standards at the time. However, electrical standards change over time and older houses may not have electrical wiring that meets current standards. Also, particularly with older houses wiring may become damaged or wear out over time.
This domestic installation in rural South Australia was designed to run as a grid minimisation installation. Although the grid remains connected it is rarely used to power the house, although excess power is exported to take advantage of the feed in tariff available.
Before the battery installation this household had a 5 kW solar PV system installed with a Fronius solar inverter.
The battery installation was done in stages as requirements changed.
The original battery installation had one 9.6 kWh SoNick battery with 2 Victron 3 KVa Multigrid inverters and a Victron colour controller for communication.
This domestic installation was on a farm. Initially a portable trailer was purchased. This trailer was used to take out on the farm to provide lighting where needed. This trailer had 1 x 7.7 kWh SoNick battery, a 5 kVa Victron Multiplus inverter and 3 x 250W solar panels. 3 panels are not enough to keep the batteries fully charged depending on how much power is drawn from the batteries. The trailer was then plugged in to the household power supply to recharge the batteries.
The Tesla Victorian big battery fire at Moorabool near Geelong in Victoria is another example of why smaller community-based neighbourhood batteries are a preferable way forward for making the energy supply more renewable. With smaller installations that are more spread out and serve the community in which they are based there is less likelihood of larger electricity supply interruptions when a large power supplier has issues and has to be taken off line for safety reasons.
The 300MW/450MWH capacity big battery comprised of Tesla batteries in multiple shipping containers was registered with AEMO on 28th July 2021. During testing on 30th July 2021 one cell failed and caught fire and quickly engulfed the container in which the batteries were housed. This then spread to another container which was also destroyed. Luckily fire fighters were able to keep other containers cool enough so that they didn’t also catch fire. The blaze was finally extinguished 4 days later. 150 firefighters and 30 fire trucks and support vehicles attended the fire along with many other multi-agency specialists.
It’s great to see the newest installation of the #SoNick batteries in Switzerland by Innovenergy.
This installation is a 540 kWh salt battery storage system and now stands in the basement of MIGROS Schlieren/ZH. The molten salt batteries are 620V SoNick batteries supplied by FZSoNick and inverters by Indrivetec.
The SoNick batteries are charged with a large 806 KW solar PV system.
The purpose of the large-scale project is to save energy costs by optimising self-consumption. The other benefit is to maximise peak shaving which ensures the supermarket doesn’t have a lot of intermittent high energy draws which would increase energy bills substantially.