SoNick battery BMS or Battery Management System

Some Energy storage batteries have a built-in BMS or Battery Management or Monitoring System to monitor how a battery operates and how it talks to the grid. This is an electronic system that manages a batteries function by protecting the battery from operating outside its “Safe Operating Area” both for the batteries health and to prevent any accidents that the battery could cause by malfunctioning.

The internal BMS monitors and controls all charging and safety aspects of the battery. The BMS will also keep you informed of the state of the battery so you can monitor the batteries health.

When integrated with other SoNick batteries the SoNick BMS synchronises the operation of the battery bank so that all batteries work together as one large battery. Continue reading “SoNick battery BMS or Battery Management System”

How freezing temperatures affect batteries



Recent sub zero temperatures in Victoria have caused problems with liquid in solar panels and batteries freezing.

Plumbers and solar installers say they have struggled to keep up with unprecedented demand for help as temperatures plummet. Cold weather can cause water in solar panels to freeze and expand, resulting in snapped and split panels and broken frost valves. Naturally this problem is worse in cheaper products or products that aren’t installed properly to allow for temperature extremes.

We have also heard of several instances of batteries freezing as well. Most lead acid and lithium ion batteries only operate effectively between around 5 – 35 to 40 °C which is problematic on days when the temperature gets very cold or even is below freezing as we experienced in Melbourne recently. Continue reading “How freezing temperatures affect batteries”

So much conflicting information on battery storage


When consumers go online to compare different batteries there is so much conflicting information available it is very difficult to get a clear picture of what is available and to understand what is happening in the industry. What is important is you compare similar products and don’t just listen to what salespeople are telling you.

If a product has been in use for a number of years the quoted figures are more likely to be reliable than if a product is new and hasn’t yet been tested in real life conditions. Generally batteries are tested in factories at 25 degrees. This can produce different results than are experienced in real life when temperatures vary widely.

Currently there are no relevant battery standards in Australia Continue reading “So much conflicting information on battery storage”

Battery Drawdown power


Energy storage batteries come in a variety of different sizes and weights and each have different characteristics.  Here is a comparison of the 2 safe, recyclable batteries currently available in Australia, FIAMM sodium nickel chloride (SoNick) or molten salt battery and Aquion salt water battery, with comparisons of size for a similar sized system from some other battery technologies.

Another thing to consider is how much power you can actually draw from the battery at any point in time. Our SoNick battery can draw 150 amps for 4 hours continuously but some other batteries are very limited in the amount of power that can be used, maybe only with enough to boil a kettle and little more. Continue reading “Battery Drawdown power”

Why use a SoNick or heated salt Battery?

Safety – No fire or explosion risk  FIAMM SoNick battery

There is no possibility of thermal runaway because of the SoNick battery characteristics and its chemistry is basically a non-flammable common salt.  Lithium ion batteries can catch fire if they get too hot. They must be kept air conditioned at all times (which adds to running costs). You can’t put water on a lithium ion fire or the battery will explode. Fire brigade currently have no means to extinguish a lithium ion battery fire.

No gas emissions

Lead acid batteries, in particular give off hydrogen and must be kept in a fireproof enclosure that will prevent any sparks from igniting the batteries. This also applies to lithium ion to a lesser extent. Redflow has the risk of a chemical spill (toxic bromine) although this is low. Continue reading “Why use a SoNick or heated salt Battery?”

Kinglake Grand Designs – Domestic Case Study using SoNick batteries

Kinglake Grand Designs

Domestic Case Study using SoNick batteries

Application – Off-grid
Location – Kinglake, Victoria
System Objective  – The client had lost his previous home on Black Saturday so the solar and storage system must survive and operate at extreme temperatures. It also fits with the ethos of a home with sustainability as its cornerstone.
Commissioned  – May, 2015
Installed PV  – 5 kW
Useable battery storage  – 15.36 kWh
Designed and installed by –  Ian Conibeer, Energy Connections

Kinglake Grand Designs house


Continue reading “Kinglake Grand Designs – Domestic Case Study using SoNick batteries”

SoNick batteries, applications and advantages of environmentally-friendly and efficient technology

Overview of the battery versions with sodium-nickel technology in sustainable mobility in backup and FIAMM SoNick batteryenergy storage systems.

FIAMM‘s sodium-nickel technology battery (salt batteries), are proving to be the most flexible ecological solution for numerous applications which range from electric mobility to energy storage in support of renewable sources and even backup systems to guarantee uninterrupted power in data centres or telephone switchboards.

There are more and more projects in Italy and around the world using this technology that provides significant advantages in terms of being environmentally-friendly (extremely low environmental impact, no emissions, entirely recyclable parts) and being efficient (extremely long life, high number of cycles, maximum resistance to thermal stress, high specific energy, low cost of raw materials).
Continue reading “SoNick batteries, applications and advantages of environmentally-friendly and efficient technology”

What is the Cycle Life of Your Battery?

When you see information about batteries one thing you will often see is the number of cycles Battery_Cycle_Life_vs_Depth_of_Discharge2they will claim to be able to provide in their lifetime. This figure can be anywhere from 2,000 cycles to 5,000 or even 6,000 cycles.

At first glance it might seem that the higher the number of cycles, the better the battery will be but in fact there are many factors that can affect the true number of cycles you will get out of your battery over its lifetime. Generally the more you take a battery below its recommended depth of discharge the fewer cycles you will get out of the battery.

One cycle is taking a battery from fully charged down to its recommended depth of discharge before charging it up again.
Continue reading “What is the Cycle Life of Your Battery?”

Is your battery toxic to you or your environment?

Non-toxic battery

One of the things that you should consider when putting battery storage on your home is whether or not the battery chemistry is toxic either in its manufacture or disposal or in its day to day use.

Often, one of the reasons that people put solar panels on their house and put in battery storage to collect the excess usage is to protect the environment and reduce the need for coal powered power stations.

This can be counterproductive if you choose a battery that is made from toxic materials or has components that can’t be recycled. Continue reading “Is your battery toxic to you or your environment?”