The Battery Boldly Goes: How Solar, Chemical, and Electric are Lighting the Way

17.01.18 02:34 PM Comment(s) By Cratos

Energy storage capacity has been a stumbling block—until recently—for manufacturers looking at ways to pair up construction equipment with alternative energy sources and non-fossil fuel-powered engines.

We owe a debt of gratitude to the internal combustion engine. It’s effectively powered our construction equipment, allowing us to build our homes and cities. But it’s come at a price.

We’re on the way to exhausting the fossil fuels internal combustion engines consume, and their byproduct is harmful to our health. It’s why some of the greatest minds in science continue to work on alternative ways to power engines.

Not the problem

Alternative forms of power are plentiful. Take solar energy as an example. It’s plentiful. The technology to capture solar energy has continued to improve power generation to that point that it actually creates more than can be stored.

That’s the problem. We appreciate fossil fuel-powered engines because they create power on demand. Of course, we also have to deal with the unwanted byproducts of air and noise pollution. And most other forms of power must be stored in batteries.

New ways of storage

Energy storage capacity has been a stumbling block—until recently—for manufacturers looking at ways to pair up construction equipment with non-fossil fuel-powered engines. Traditional batteries were not efficient, and they had short lifespans.

We took a huge step forward with the migration to lithium-based batteries. They’ve become ubiquitous. You’ll find them in everything from your laptop to the electric vehicle parked in your driveway. They’re smaller and more lightweight. Lithium-based batteries also can be recharged more often.

Research is showing that we haven’t yet reached the top capacity with lithium-based batteries. It’s also uncovering alternatives that may prove to be even better and more efficient.

Make way for new high-performance batteries

Lithium-based batteries remain the top choice to power electric motors—including those found in an increasing number of new models of construction equipment. Researchers have found a way to make these batteries even more cost efficient by designing a new type of electrode that allows a lithium battery to be recharged thousands of times, instead of just hundreds of times.

This has been the stumbling block with all batteries: the limit to the amount of times they can be recharged. Batteries—even lithium-based—degrade over time as they’re drained and recharged. They start to lose capacity as this happens.

Researchers have found that a battery cathode created with thin films of nickel sulfide and iron sulfide boost conductivity even better than lithium. A quality lithium-based battery has a lifespan of from 300 to 500 recharges before it begins to suffer significant capacity loss.

The new nickel and iron sulfide cathode creates a battery than can be recharged up to 5,000 times before its recharging capacity begins to degrade.

The benefit of better batteries

These more efficient fuel cells are still in the research stage, but they pave the way for battery-powered equipment to become even more common in the construction industry. Electric equipment has already begun to reshape the landscaping industry.

Both industries appreciate being able to move away from the reliance on fossil fuels to power their equipment. This often is one of their biggest operating expenses. Besides eliminating fuel costs, electric motors require less maintenance while still being just as powerful as their noisy and polluting internal combustion engine-powered counterparts.

Better batteries will further accelerate the use of electric construction and landscaping equipment. And there’s already no downside to the switch. Battery-powered equipment is simply a better solution.

The construction industry is constantly moving forward, and Triple E Equipment keeps pace. Affordable, efficient and green are what we stand for and we're here to empower your site. You can reach us at (954)-978 3440 or send us a message detailing your needs.

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